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July 03 , 2010

Rethinking the French New Right

Alternatives to Modernity


This book focuses on the philosophy, politics and impact of the 'New Right' which originated in France and has since influenced activism, ideology and policy in a number of European countries.

This book explores the idea that revolutionaries do not necessarily need to come from the left, nor use arms in order to overturn liberal democracy. In the post-World War Two era, the extremists of the revolutionary right took three different paths: 1) parliamentary; 2) extra-parliamentary; and 3) metapolitical. The New Right (nouvelle droite – ND in France) took the metapolitical path, but that did not mean it abandoned its revolutionary desire to smash liberal democracy throughout Europe.

The book examines four interpretations of the New Right. These interpretations include the following: 1) The New Right as a fascist or quasi-fascist movement; 2) The New Right as a challenge to the traditional right-left dichotomy, which has structured European political debates for more than 200 years; 3) The New Right as an alternative modernist movement, which rejects liberal and socialist narratives of modernity; accepts the technical but not political or cultural effects of modernity; and longs for a pan-European political framework abolishing liberal multiculturalism and privileging ethnic dominance of so-called original Europeans; and 4) The New Right as a variant of political religion and conversionary processes. The book concludes by analysing the positions, cultural and political impact, and relationship to democracy of the New Right.

This work will be of great interest to students and scholars of racism, fascism, extremism, European politics, French politics and contemporary political theory.

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