A Culture of the Nouvelle Droite?

Just as with Mussolini’s Italy and Hitler’s Germany, we can track the development of a distinct culture alongside the Nouvelle Droite (ND). Culture became not only a means of disseminating the messages of the ND and bolstering it, but also came to define the movement. An examination of the culture of the ND reveals the ambiguity between nationalism and transnationalism in the ND. One way we can maybe think about this is the way that ND movements throughout Europe refashion a culture of the ND that is both relevant and useful their own countries while being deeply pan-European.

In all four readings from this week, the importance of media loomed large. Journals were a particularly important cultural artifact in several ND movements throughout Europe. In the Portuguese case, several journals emerged as a space to engage in dialogues about Portugal’s political future post Estado Novo (New State) and were a way to gain support for the ND in Portugal. Journals like Política which is especially interesting for its interdisciplinary nature and invocation of science. It was not only the production of journals that helped to bolster the ND throughout European countries but also the role of specific journalists like Gilberte Comte as mentioned in Roger Griffin’s article: “Between Metapolitics and Apoliteia: The Nouvelle Droite’s Strategy for Conserving the Fascist Vision in the ‘Interregnum.’” Indeed, journalists like Gilberte Comte can be seen as making important contributions to the development of the ND having published articles like “Une nouvelle droite?”

Moreover, writers like Julius Evola played an indispensable role in the development of a culture of the ND in Italy. Evola played an important role in defining the sense of traditionalism that the ND would lean on in the future. In particular, tradition as a belief in a sacred order governed by the ruling class of priests and elites. Stories and beliefs like this reconciled the decadence of the present with the belied that a new world order was coming. 

It is important to address the “so what?” question that emerged with the theme of a distinct culture of the ND. The complicated, and somewhat paradoxical ways, that ND movements in different countries developed a culture that was both nationalists and transnational was important in managing perceived threats. Namely, by creating and perpetuating rigid notions of culture, these movements could manage the threats that immigration brought which something we are very much still witnessing.

One Reply to “A Culture of the Nouvelle Droite?”

  1. There is a series of very interesting and potentially poignant observations here. It would have been of great benefit to drill down on perhaps one or two of these observations. For example “ambiguity between nationalism and transnationalism” speaks to the political theoretical space that the ND was occupying; drilling down on this assertion alone could allow for a rich path of exploration.

    In linking this piece to Italy an interrogation of Movimento Sociale Italiano (MSI) may have been a welcomed point of departure. The ND refashioned France in the 1960s so an “examination of the culture” must focus on France, opposed to pan- European identity in an initial round of exploration. Keeping the ND rooted in its geopolitical context provides for a deeper level of analysis – a link to the recent presidential election in France may have provided the continuity and change of a strong history critique.

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