Call for Papers: The New Nationalism

The 28th Annual Conference of the Association for the Study of Ethnicity and Nationalism (ASEN) will take place 27-28 March 2018. This years theme will be ‘The New Nationalism: populism, authoritarianism and anti-globalisation’. Please submit paper abstracts by the 17 November 2017.

Popular sovereignty is woven into the fabric of nationalism, which arose as a revolt against aristocratic and foreign rule. Whether nationalists bring power to the people, or merely use the people as a cloak to advance their own agenda, they draw on an ideology which considers foreign and elite interests to be illegitimate. In 2016, Donald Trump and those campaigning for Britain to leave the European Union invoked the idea that foreign and elite interests were undermining popular sovereignty. Brexit, and the election of Trump to the American presidency, shook western politics, opening up a new political cleavage between nationalist and globalist that cuts across traditional divides of left and right. In Russia, India, Turkey, the Philippines and Latin America, populist leaders rose to power by mobilising opposition to established elites or foreign influence.

Nationalism, since Herder, is also focused on ensuring that culture and politics, ethnicity and the state, past and present, are aligned. The culture may evolve and the past may be partly imagined, but nationalists view these as relatively permanent. The people who bear sovereignty should have a well-developed identity and a sense of timeless continuity with generations past. When the continuity of identity is seen to be under threat – through the global spread of ideas or immigrants, for instance a cultural nationalist backlash can arise. In continental Europe, ethnonationalist far right parties are winning an unprecedented share of the vote and nearly topped the presidential poll in Austria. These mobilise support by advocating strict immigration policies, Euroscepticism and measures that place the native inhabitants first in a range of areas including welfare and social services. Their emphasis on sovereignty and policies that promote a national preference helps define the New Nationalism.

National pride is important too: in China, Russia, Hungary or interwar Germany, there is a sense among nationalists that the nation has been humiliated, betrayed by elites or foreigners, and must recover its proper place in the world. Within nations, those who feel they have lost out to the forces of economic globalisation may hark back to a time when the nation was an industrial power and self-sufficient. Sometimes authoritarian leaders sweep to power by mobilising anti-elite or anti-foreigner sentiments, and attack liberal institutions. Elsewhere populists generally accept liberal institutions but mobilise voters who are psychologically authoritarian in Adorno or Altemeyers terms, in that they seek order and security rather than pluralism and change.

Potential themes:

  • Nationalism and right-wing populism
  • Nationalism and left-wing populism
  • The new nationalist-globalist cleavage in western politics
  • The nationalist backlash against globalisation
  • Nationalism and fascism
  • Comparisons between fascism and right-wing populism
  • Psychological Authoritarianism and Nationalism
  • National identity and immigration
  • Ethnic nationalism
  • Economic nationalism
  • The rise of the far right in Europe
  • Trumpism and American nationalism
  • Majority-group or dominant ethnicity
  • Euroskepticism

This conference will explore what The Economist dubbed the New Nationalism, which is as critical for understanding our contemporary world as globalisation was in the years following the collapse of communism. Does your research relate? Submit abstracts by 17 November 2017.