The Populist Playbook on Media Coverage

Populist movements have demonstrated the ability to navigate and influence their messages across both mainstream media and social media. This week’s readings showcased a wide range of the methods being used by these populist movements. I have tried to categorize the readings into three main methods used by populists: capitalize on the mainstream media’s complicity, ability to shape the narrative, and exploitation of social media and unregulated digital platforms. These methods have resulted in populists being able to “to transmit ‘sentiment’ over ‘fact’, to use ‘authentic’ language, to make full use of social media and to exploit the mainstream media’s appetite for sensationalist stories” (Freedman).

Capitalize on mainstream media’s complicity

In Populism and media policy failure, Des Freedman argues that populist leaders and movements have been able to exploit mainstream media’s lack of attention around “the structural conditions and policy frameworks that have facilitated the circulation of clickbait and misinformation”. The article by Slavickova & Zvagulis also points to complicity in print media. In their review of Czech print media, they found that there are problems of contextualization and otherization of minorities, framing that overstates (and contributes to) racial tension in the Czech Republic.

Ability to shape the narrative in news cycles

In a similar vein as Freedman, Hatakka argues that “populists’ strategies of provoking the media into prolonged coverage of their scandalous actions can be regarded to grant them agenda-setting and framing power by providing visibility and political weight”. What I find particularly interesting in populist movements ability to shape the narrative is the idea that there is no real losing over media coverage. By this I mean, populists employ sensationalist claims in order to gain extensive media coverage. however, when this does not work, due to the mainstream media boycotting coverage of populist movements, these groups are able to rally their base by claiming that this is proof that the mainstream media are ‘corrupt’. In the end, populists are either able to be seen by a larger public or are able to rally their base, both of which I see as a win for the populists.

Exploiting Social Media and Unregulated Digital Platforms

Lastly, the populist’s ability to effectively use social media and unregulated digital platforms (such as HommaForum) has resulted in electoral gains. Hatakka references the works of Lance Bennett and Alexander Sergber, who put forward the idea that “digital communication technologies have provided not only new tools for political organization, but a whole new logic to political identity formation and group formation.” Viewing social media and alternative digital platforms in this light, it is easy to see how populists’ groups have used these platforms to create their groups identities.


Until the mainstream media and conventional political parties are able to adapt to newer digital platforms, I believe that populists movements will be able to gain more support. What is worrying to me though is the risk that politics on digital platforms will never achieve a positive outlook for politics, rather it will at a minimum remain an echo chamber of ideas, at worse we will see further divergence between parties with no hope to bridge to other groups.

Op-Ed #3: Populism and the Future of Europe

Populism and the Future of Europe

Banner Future is Europe

“You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that [is] it’s an opportunity to do things that you think you could not before”

-Rahm Emanuel

The Euro Crisis, Immigration Crisis; since it’s inception, the European project has faced crisis after crisis. Today the crisis facing the European Union (EU) is Populism. Despite the fear that the rise of populism has brought, now is the time for the EU to act.

While populism can be found across the globe from the United States, India, and much of Latin America; populism has been most prominent in Europe. Populist leaders like Viktor Orban, Marine Le Pen, and Geert Wilders have captured the headlines and inspired the rise in populism across Europe.Populist parties in Poland, Italy and Belgium have seen electoral success. Populist groups fared well in this years European Parliamentary elections. Populism has undeniably taken hold across Europe.

But why has Populism gripped Europe tighter than other regions?

The reason for this is the EU itself. The EU as an institution is the perfect scapegoat for populists to rally against. Populist movements rely on pitting the‘corrupt elite’ against the ‘ordinary people’ . The EU fills the corrupt elite role as the role and purpose of the EU is not understood by the European public. As Time’s correspondent Vivienne Walt argues, populists and nationalists cast E.U. executives as disconnected elitists out of touch with the concerns of ordinary people.

Related, populists claim the EU takes away national sovereignty. Populists leverage this by painting the EU as undemocratic. This rhetoric is often used, as shown by this tweet by Nigel Farage, one of the populist leaders behind Brexit.

The Future of Europe

All is not lost. In fact, now is the time for action by the EU! Ironically, populism may have provided the spark to spur deeper European integration. The problem of a ‘democratic deficit’ ‘has dogged the EU for decades, a claim often used in populist playbooks. However, with the spotlight of populism, European wide issues have been brought into the pubic sphere for debate.

This is the EU’s chance to pursue deeper integration, become more democratic, and finally defeat the populist surge. As demonstrated with the Eurozone Crisis, in times of crisis, the EU can increases its mandate. An example of this is the recently introduced European Citizens Initiative (ECI). The ECI allows European citizens to directly influence EU policy making. This mechanism has been seen as a great step towards solving the EU’s democratic deficit.

Only if Europeans know they are being heard will they feel like they belong to Europe, care about Europe, and engage with Europe.

– Manfred Weber, Leader of the European Peoples party (EPP)

Now is the opportunity to make this a reality.

Populists have engaged not only the public on EU level policies but brought the attention of national leaders to debate. French President Emanuel Macron has lead the debate with some calling him the leader of Europe. Macron has supported the creation of an EU army, European minimum salary, and has called for a European Renewal. The renewed spark of debate around the future of the EU and Europe in no small part has been thanks to the populist groups, who have increased the salience of EU integration.

 There is now a clear reaction by Europeans against the rise of populism. The populist movement within Europe seems to be stalling. Within the EU,  populist parties fell short of expectations in the last European Parliament elections. Further, the populist parties within the European Parliament are divided. Nationally, populists have lost out in key states such as Austria. Locally there are now challenges  to the populist strong holds.

While unlikely to be gone overnight, populism in Europe may have caused its own demise. The EU should take this opportunity and address populist claims head on. By doing so, the EU is poised to see a renewal in public interest and debate, something long awaited by many.

The Future is Europe

Populism: United and Fragmented

Populism as a concept, as shown throughout this week’s readings, is fluid and shapeshifting. Before getting to the content of populist claims, even the act of defining what populism is can vary; populism has been called a policy (Schmidt), a political style (Paternotte &Kuhar), and an ideological feature (Gattinara referencing Mudde). When considering framing ,as put  forward by Paternotte & Kuhar, the importance of categorizing or classifying populism becomes very crucial for the analysis and diagnosis of populist content. Personally, I tend to agree with Mudde’s idea of populism as an ideological feature that is then joined with politics.

Despite the hardship of defining what populism is categorized or classified as, the content of populism is somewhat clearer. The importance of an in-group and out-group is key to populism. This group dynamic in populism centres around the creation of a ‘pure people’, which populist leaders are able to define the values and identity of the group. The content of what the in-group identity consists of is where populism shines, as this identity is vastly different in all implementations, allowing for populist groups and movements to really shape and target their audiences. For example, the Global Right in the Paternotte & Kuhar reading, focus on fighting ‘gender ideology’ to fight the progressive a causes that challenges their group values, mainly Christian beliefs. Another example, the Pediga focus on protecting national identity through antiimmigration and nationalist rhetoric. All of these claims are portrayed as being against a ‘corrupt’ other, typically this ‘other’ will be the elites of a state or social movement. However, as Jan Muller points out, the idea of rallying against the elites should not be universally attributed to populism. This is because in a democracy, people have the right to challenge those in charge.

Nonetheless, far right populism poses a risk to Europe due to the centrality of nativism, and authoritarianism. Nativism plays into the populist ‘people’ idea by arguing that states should be inhabited exclusively by natives. Authoritarianism for populist groups entails rule through ‘law and order’. Muller warns that the danger of populism is that the anti-pluralist style of populism produces the effect of deeming all those not aligned with the ‘people’, as illegitimate.

Populism as a concept is hard to summarize neatly, which is not surprising as the concept is meant to be flexible and adaptive. It can hardly be expected that in most cases populist actions play out in a similar fashion. While there can be overlap in group identities and values, I believe Paternotte & Kuhar are correct in their argument that a more nuanced understanding is needed when looking at similar groups. As they have shown, similar groups may have similar rhetoric, but do not typically share the same path to the same conclusions and do not share similar core values that drive their rhetoric. For example, the Christian groups and populist groups differ in their shared opposition to ‘gender ideology’. Christian groups base their driving forces on historic grounds and oppose gender and sexual equality (according to Paternotte & Kuhar). Whereas, right wing populist groups, while opposed to ‘gender ideology’, do not necessarily oppose gender and sexual equality.

Transnationalism and the Nouvelle Droite

I found this week’s readings as very informative for understanding how right wing movements developed between the end of the second world war and today. Bar-On’s Transnationalism and the French Nouvelle Droite, explains the French Nouvelle Droite role in establishing some of the core tactics and content used by today’s European populist and right-wing groups. One of the primary features of the ND was their view that Liberalism, Socialism, multiculturalism, and democracy were homogenizing ideologies that were destroying the cultural, regional, and national roots of Europe (206). This to me was the precursor for populist and right wings movements of today, use of identity politics. without the establishment of this idea, the “othering” tactics of populist movements would be lacking. Bar-On also touches on the idea that the ND was transnationally focused. According to him, the ND utilized the idea of the ‘Gramscianism of the right’, which focused the ND’s to influence European civil society rather than governments. Personally, I find this very interesting from a European integration perspective, on the one hand, the EU (which was undergoing its development at the time) focused on influencing governments rather than the public, relying on ‘permissive consensus’ of the public. On the other hand, the ND set out to influence civil society, thus bringing down some of the nationalist barriers that fascist and nationalist parties relied on. What is interesting here is that both the EU and right wing movements have been successful in targeting their areas, yet both lack traction in the other. By this I mean, right wing movements have been able to gain enough support at the public level, but have struggled to win at a national level. The EU has had the opposite problem, they have achieved some success integrating at the national level yet have lacked civil society support. Nonetheless, it is interesting that both the EU and the right-wing movements have integrated Europe in their own ways.

This week’s readings have turned some of the concepts I once took as fact, on its head. The first is put forward by Bar-On when he brings up the “now widespread strategy of inversion, of turning universalist, multicultural anti-racism into a form of racism, was picked up from the ND” (207).  This turning on its head of liberal values is actually quite ingenious. While the ND was able to trans-nationally influence the content of other groups in Europe, they also struggled. Such is the case of Portugal, where according to Marchi, the Portuguese intellectuals and right-wing groups seemed to be “influenced less by the content and more by the methods of the French ND”(243). This is not too surprising, as cultural context within different states will vary and thus require right wing groups to adapt their message accordingly. Marchi also argues that the ND was unsuccessful in cultivating a pan-European identity within in Portugal. Again I find this a bit harsh, as building pan-European identities has always been a daunting task for any group, including large institutions like the EU.

Remembering the stories of the Holocaust

The fall of the Nazi regime left many societal questions to be answered. Who was to be deemed a perpetrator? a survivor? How would this be determined? Was society at large ready to self reflect and address the horrors committed?

Werner Sollors article Everybody gets Fragebogened Sooner or Later: The Denazification Questionnaire as Cultural Text, outlines one of the ways that were chosen to attempt to identify those that had supported the Nazi regime. One of the questions required German employment seekers to identify who they had voted for in elections prior to the war. Similarly the “Medelbogen” questionnaire asked for a self classification into one of 5 categories of offenders (major, offender, lesser offender, follower, or persons exonerated). These were just a part of the efforts of identifying perpetrators that were not as prominent as those being tried at the Nuremburg Trials. I question the successfulness of some of these methods, as for example self identification could allow perpetrators to lie or mislead their roles, something that was researched by Mary Fulbrook.

Fulbrook attempts to answer some of these questions by looking at how perpetrators dealt with the actions they had taken under the Nazi regime. Through her research she identified that perpetrators in most cases would use the strategy of self distancing by arguing ignorance or innocence in the crimes committed during the war. Further, this type of self distancing was bot only used by the nazi perpetrators, but those victims who were placed within Primo Levi’s “Gray Zone”. The Gray Zone is a moral zone where victims committed crimes themselves out of self preservation, this was the case of the Jewish Kapos or Sonderkommandos.

This was only half of the story; how would society react to the stories of the victims? Would the victims be able to speak about the horrors of the Holocaust? Fulbrook shows that victims immediately after the war tended to share their experiences amongst themselves. However, overtime this changed for a variety of reasons, but the most important was “not so much a matter of survivors “finding a voice” as of the emergence of audiences willing to listen”. One interesting point Fulbrook raises is the importance of technology in capturing these stories. She argues that technology such as VHS and Betamax meant that “No longer were there just a handful of published, literary representations, penned by a few well-known names; now hundreds of thousands of ordinary people were able to “tell their story”. I was left wondering how things would have gone if it were not for technology that allowed for these stories to be captured and more importantly widely accessible? Would people have been able to reach such a large audience with their stories? History up until this point had always been recorded by historians and therefore required to some extent a barrier to entry for the public, i.e. they had to be interested and have access to the texts. Whereas the ability of historians and groups to record the stories of survivors and distribute to anyone that had a tv meant that the barrier for entry was vastly reduced.

Populism’s Co-opting of Religion

Europe finds itself navigating a state of Euroscepticism, xenophobia, and right-wing populist movements. At its core, populism pits the ‘pure people’ versus the ‘corrupt elite’. For different groups, this means different things. Most attribute populist rhetoric as nationalistic and socio-economically driven. Religion offers many benefits for populist groups, yet is overlooked in much of the literature. This article attempts to highlight that populist group also draw upon religion as a means to rally ‘the people’.

By basing their identity in Christian culture, populists thus require something to stand in opposition to their ideals and their ‘people’. David French elaborates this point by arguing that populism typically uses mass mobilization against an opposing force. Islam has typically filled this role. This is likely due to the recent immigration crisis that Europe recently faced. Susi Meret and Andreas Beyer Gregerson argue that Islam has transformed into a floating signifier for the Danish People’s Party. They go on to say that “Islam is represented as a main religious and cultural challenger that threatens national identity and security”. National identity here is not limited to the Danish case. Rather any populist group can argue this. Donald Trump has attempted repeatedly to impose a travel ban on Middle Eastern countries because any Muslim could be a threat. The simple fact that a person can be banned because they come from a country where Islam is practiced may seem ludicrous to most, but this type of action and rhetoric strikes a cord with right-wing populists.

It is clear that right-wing populist groups are using religion as an identity, one that they can coopt to represent ‘the pure people’. Populist leader Viktor Orban has recently changed the branding of his government from an “Illberal democracy” to that of a “Christian democracy”. Going further Orban stated earlier this year that “Unless we protect our Christian culture we will lose Europe and Europe will no longer belong to Europeans”. This eludes to the Orban governments stance against immigration, by tying this to Christian culture. Orban has been able to appeal to those who may not be religious but do view immigration negatively. In the case of Hungary, it is clear that the government is becoming increasingly anti immigration and opposed to multiculturalism, likely due to Orban’s coopting of Christian culture.

But is all of this to be unexpected? Nadia Marzouki and Duncan McDonnell seem to think otherwise. They argue that There is nothing new about right-wing populists exploiting religion for political gain. Populism has been known to be very pragmatic and fluid in the make up of policy. Religion serves as a great platform for populists as it already has an established support base that shares a common identity. Not only that, populists are then able to twist long held beliefs to further their own cause. This cause as demonstrated above focuses on limiting immigration to protect the Christian way of life. By doing so, populists paint a picture of doom, one that they alone can offer salvation against. They tell the ‘people’ that the country’s problems are not their fault. Rather, the people are morally upright citizens who are victims of the elites.

Unfortunately, this trend overall seems to be growing, as the new European Commission, which has yet to be created, has already got a taste of populist backlash. In this case, the wound was self inflicted, as according to some, the proposed vice president of “Protecting Our European Way of Life” echoes the far-right rhetoric. This sparked an immediate response from the left with critics arguing that this position title identifies Europe as white and Christian, and migration from the Middle East and Africa as a threat to that identity. This example demonstrates that right-wing populist groups are now being closely identified with Christian values. More importantly, it appears that both the populist and the ‘other’ are both starting to see right-wing populism through the lens of religion.

Women in Nazi Germany

In Hitler’s Furies Wendy Lower shines the spotlight on the role of women in Nazi Germany and their role in the regimes violence. While there are many good arguments throughout the book, I found some arguments less persuasive. The first argument that fell short was when Lower draws comparisons between the typology of men and women perpetrators (163) and concludes that these women perpetrators came from varying backgrounds and the violence they exhibited was diverse. All of the examples in the book prior to this have attempted to paint women’s role and typology in a different colour, but any of these examples could have easily been perpetrated by a man or woman. On a similar note, Lower states that “But of course not all female camp guards were killers, not all female killers were camp guards; a huge number of victims in the East were killed outside camp walls” (142-143). This statement makes it hard to understand what exactly as readers we should make of the individual stories of the women in this book that carried of these atrocities.

In my opinion, the theme that these men and women came of age when Hitler was rising to power is interesting from a psychological perspective. Lower touches on this topic briefly when she elaborates on the indoctrination of girls starting at the age of 10. This is interesting as it raises the question of how society and norms influence individuals and what extent some are willing to go to ‘fit in’. This is something that I believe could be researched more in-depth, the reasoning and motives behind some of the worst perpetrators may be explainable, but that of the common man or woman I would argue has not been explained adequately enough in Lower’s book. By researching this area, one may be able to demonstrate that one of the main driving factors behind the regime, was the regimes successful indoctrination and desensitization of its public. I believe if true, this line of argument would be stronger than Lower’s account of individual cases, which for those cases may be sufficient but for a larger explanation on how some many people, both men and women, committed such crimes.

The area that I think this book succeeds in is that it highlights the importance of how systemic the Nazi ideas were in society for both women and men. It raises the question if we can ever truly know the extent of what really happened and what true motivations lead these seemingly normal men and women to carry out such terrible things. The biggest contribution by this book is that it has been clearly demonstrated that the role of women in the Nazi regime has been overlooked and under represented in the literature and that this is an area that should be explored in greater detail.

Stemming the Populist Tide: Has Europe’s Populist Surge Lost Its Momentum? Not Quite

By Stuart Strang

In recent years, a populist wave has swept the European continent. The tides of populist electoral success instilled a fear that the European project was dead, and that fascism may soon rear its face once again. 

The success of populist groups has been attributed to their tactics of nativism and charismatic leaders. Populist political parties seek to overturn current political systems by pitting the ‘people’ against the ‘corrupt elite’. Leaders of populist groups claim that they alone speak for the ‘people’. This combination has proven effective for leaders such as Nigel Farage, Marine Le Penn, and Gert Wilders. Despite success, the high tide of populism that had risen across the European continent may be lessening. 

The Austrian general election this week showcased the latest loss for populist parties in Europe. The right-wing populist Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) lost over a third of its seats. This is a major blow to populist parties, as the FPÖ was a shining example of success for populist parties. Prior to the election the FPÖ were a part of the leading coalition in Austria. Due to scandal, the FPÖ is now unlikely to be included in the new majority. 

Is the Austrian case localized or a part of a larger trend of populist decline?

Looking elsewhere in Europe, it is clear that populist parties have been struggling to keep their momentum.  Most notably, the European Parliament election earlier this year saw populist parties failing to make significant gains. Other examples include the Italian Lega being ousted from power.

 With the losses mounting for populists’, media outlets have started to question if populism has peaked. Has the populist tide lost its momentum? Not Quite. 

Europe is not out of the woods yet.

While populist success has somewhat stagnated, populist parties across European countries are still making significant headway electorally. This year alone saw populist parties at the national level in Belgium, Estonia , and Finland make significant gains. This does not appear to be slowing down, as polls also show the Law and Justice Party in Poland with a large lead ahead of the Polish general election on October 13th. Despite less than expected success in the European Parliament election, statements such as “The populists’ finish isn’t that much stronger than in 2014”  can be misleading. Put in context, 2014 was the watershed year for populist parties’ success. 

But how are populist parties continuing their electoral successes? 

Two explanations offer great insight. 

The first explanation highlights the flexibility of populist groups. “The People” that populists claim to represent is deliberately loosely defined. Who fits into the in-group defined as ‘the people’ is very fluid. Prominent populist scholar Cas Mudde warns that defining “Us” and “Them” is crucial for the success of far-right populist parties, and the boundaries are constantly shifting”. Populist’s are able to dynamically adapt their policy and rhetoric to better match current political trends.

The second explanation has been a lessening in radical policy.  Most prominently, the elimination of calls to leave the European Union. Ironically this  shift in rhetoric is due to the populist success of Brexit. The chaos that Brexit has caused has led continental populist parties to adjust course on their policies to leave the European Union towards less radical policies. By promoting less radical policy, populists stand to reach more moderate voters who feel disenfranchised by other mainstream parties. 

Populism in Europe is undergoing some stagnation. However, populist parties have demonstrated the ability to be flexible and sustain electoral success. 

To claim that European populism is on its way out would be a mistake, the tide may be out at the moment but will soon return if unchecked. 

Masculinity’s Many Faces in Illiberal Regimes

Once again, the theme of fascist use of pragmatism in order to control and shape the public and military was apparent in this weeks readings. On the extreme side, Barbra Spackman in Fascist Virilities: Rhetoric, Ideology, and Social Fantasy in Italy illustrates the fascist fascination with ‘manly’ behaviour and traits was illustrated best through the description of what great lengths Mussolini took to appear ultra masculine and virile. Mussolini taking extreme measures such as shaving his head, having no references to family or fatherhood, and what I found the most ridiculous; keeping the lights on at night to show his devotion, all to keep up his manly appearance and demonstrate his virility.

Thomas Kuhne also highlighted similar core ‘ideal’ traits of masculinity such: physical, emotional, and moral ‘hardness’. More importantly, Kuhne introduces the concept of ‘protean masculinity’, which he argues allowed soldiers to have both ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ or ‘tender’ masculinity. According to Kuhne, soldiers were able to remain ‘tough’ while also adopting more ‘feminine’ roles without undermining the soldier’s manliness. This fluidity was seen in acts where soldiers showed tender masculinity in the loss of a comrade. Protean masculinity allowed for greater adoption and inclusion of less ‘manly’ traits, this concept was the pragmatic way for the fascist regime to create an ‘ideal man’ while also accounting for the realities of war, loss, and suffering on soldiers. Interestingly, Protean Masculinity has to be situated within a group and hierarchy. Those that expressed more ‘soft’ masculinity were able to due to the perception that they were the exceptions to the rule of masculinity and hardness, which meant they conformed to the rules and more importantly to the dominance of the alpha males. In my opinion, this also brings up the fascist idea of putting the nation above yourself. By accepting the hierarchy and seeing themselves as exceptions to the rule, soldiers were buying into the narrative. Kuhne raises the point that Protean Masculinity was “In essence, it was all about fitting in. Accepting the priority of the group’s “we” over the individual “I” granted the latter some leeway. This did not mean that all men were equal when it came to assessing their degree of manliness, or that various emotional states were considered equal.”

Lastly, I found it interesting that there was a somewhat common theme of men coming back to society facing a difficult adjustment, German soldiers and Russian prisoners alike. Both had faced a group hierarchy that changed them and in some cases their masculinity. The idea of prisons being ‘homogenic’, that is prisons being the source of many instances of same-sex behaviours lead to many Russian’s, once no longer prisoners, being singled out by the public as at that time homosexuality was tied to Stalinization, something which was to be looked down upon. The article by Healy really showed how inhumane pragmatism could be under these regimes. This can be seen in the case of same sex relations within the gulags being counterproductive in the eyes of the Gulag managers, which lead to homosexual relations having a blind eye, as these relations were not as counterproductive to the camps.

Control, Culture, and Technocracy

By Stuart Strang

In this week’s readings, I have clustered a few general themes that I thought were the driving forces behind the fascist efforts of tourism, leisure, and consumerism. These themes are: Control, Culture and Technocracy.

Control

Germany under National Socialist rule attempted to spread its message and control consumerism through the KfD (Strength through Joy). To achieve this, Germany dedicated significant monetary resources (free trips, subsidies, etc) as well as manpower (Gestapo agents) to promote and monitor mass tourism. One of the most prominent cases for the ‘success’ of mass tourism was the average German’s exposure (through subsidized travel) to other less fortunate living standards in other countries. By witnessing what other people were accustomed to; Germans saw their circumstances in a different, more favorable light and thus painted the regime in a better light as well.

Culture

The fascist regime in Italy faced a different set of circumstances in comparison to Germany, such as a weaker national identity, lesser access to resources to devote towards its programs, and a different approach to implementing a culture of fascism to promote a new national identity. In Italy, the emergence of this “mass leisure” was thus closely tied to the specific ends of the fascist regime. While the regime was able to subsidize some of the costs for events such a movie tickets, radios, and sports; there were other areas where the regime faced clear class divisions such as professional theaters and high-level sports. The regime thus attempted to promote an Italian culture through tying the OND (and in a general sense the regime) to these past times. For example, Victoria de Grazia argues that “the regime in effect appropriated as its own a whole series of popular pastimes, incorporating what had previously been experienced as autonomous expressions of class or community into the social life of the state, associating them with its official activities and infusing them with new competitiveness” (170). I think in comparison to the German or Spanish case, the Italian attempts to promote tourism and culture was the least well received, as there seemed to be a general trend of great interest by the public at the introduction to new activities and events, but was followed with a quick diminish in interest.

 Technocracy

As Crumbaugh highlights in Prosperity and Freedom Under Franco: the Grand Invention of Tourism, the Franco government in the late 1950’s underwent a massive change of economic governance, towards a more technocratic economic policy. At the time, tourism in Spain became a prominent success for the country. Crumbaugh argues that “The power exercised through the spectacle of tourism, in other words, was constructive rather than repressive.” (20). Lastly, I found it interesting that tourism may have also contributed to the regimes downfall by allowing for such openness and socialization to democratic ideas. Personally, I found the Spanish case to be the most compelling for the fascist state being able to exert direct influence and control over the public. However, this was likely due to the fact that the policy the regime pursued was heavily economic and constructive.

Question: Other than for pragmatic reasons, were there any common elements of a fascist approach between Germany, Italy, or Spain?