Nouvelle Droite: a brief new way to think of the right

By: Conrad Yiridoe

Through these readings, summarising the central idea of the Nouvelle Droite (ND) movement can be tricky. I think Bar-On noted it best in ‘Transnationalism and the French Nouvelle Droite’ by writing, “…the French ND is neither a political party nor a violent extra-parliamentary outfit. The ND is rather a ‘cultural school of thought’, and a metapolitical movement that originated largely as a synthesis of two ideological currents: the revolutionary right-wing Conservative Revolution (CR), and the New Left.” From this, the theme appears clear that the ND movement was not something that could fit inside a particular political box or another. After the second world war, there was somewhat of a political vacuum.

What was interesting, was the slight contrast of the use of ND in Portugal. Marchi in The Nouvelle Droite in Portugal: a new strategy for the radical right in the transition from authoritarianism to democracy notes that “Portuguese intellectuals seemed to be influenced less by the content and more by the methods of the French ND.” With the enthusiasm of the young students noted in the piece, they really helped to energize and spearhead this new direction in the country.  What I found most interesting in the piece, was the explanation of the extent towards which the sciences played a bigger role than I expected to see in this. Marchi states that “that the radical right had to expand its analysis across all the fields of human knowledge, applying a scientific method and the theoretical contributions of the new sciences. These tools would allow the right to achieve the cultural hegemony previously enjoyed by the extreme left”. From this, the uniqueness of this movement did not stop there. Bar-On notes with regards to the origins of the ND that “it rejected time-honoured pillars of the right: namely, the nation state and nationalism.” The general theme here being that ND was not a simple straight forward ideology, but a combination of different variables.  

2 Replies to “Nouvelle Droite: a brief new way to think of the right”

  1. Hi Conrad! Your point regarding the trickiness of defining the Nouvelle Droite summed up the readings quite well. I think it can be easy to try to put a movement in a specific box, but looking back on previous discussions, defining the far-right is a complex and debatable topic. I also liked how the readings focused on this science-based approach and the Nouvelle Droite’s alleged rejection of traditional forms of the far-right, like nationalism or racism. However, I think it would be interesting to see how science can still be manipulated to support racist or harmful policies (such as using science to justify genocide or forced sterilization).

  2. The new-right thought that by adopting the science and language they could match the traditionally left wing academia and challenge them on their own ground. I must agree that compared to other right wing movements they were much more academically inclined that other incarnations on the right making them unique.

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