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Open Access The French New Right’s Quest for Alternative Modernity

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The French New Right’s Quest for Alternative Modernity

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The purpose of this paper is to offer a new interpretation of the French nouvelle droite (ND – New Right). The author argues that the ND is a heterogeneous, pan-European “school of thought” consisting of different ideological tendencies. Yet, contrary to the predominant interpretation of the revolutionary right as “anti-modern” and “reactionary”, key ND thinkers, including its leader Alain de Benoist, are wedded to a revolutionary, alternative modernist conception of politics which is neither liberal nor socialist. The paper in question begins by assessing whether the ND is a fascist movement. The paper then focuses on Roger Griffin's “ideal type” definitions of modernism and fascism to argue that ND theorists fit within modernist and fascist frameworks with roots in the late 19th and 20th centuries. The ND's modernist framework seeks to “rescue” contemporary Europe from its profound “decadence” and “crises” in a seemingly contradictory ideological pastiche (i.e., “mazeway resynthesis”) combining premodern, modern, and postmodern political and philosophical influences.

Affiliations: 1: Department of International Relations and Humanities, Tecnológico de Monterrey (Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education), Campus Querétaro, Mexico E-mail: tbaron@itesm.mx; tamir.baron@gmail.com

10.1163/221162512X631198
/content/journals/10.1163/221162512x631198
dcterms_title,pub_keyword,dcterms_description,pub_author
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The purpose of this paper is to offer a new interpretation of the French nouvelle droite (ND – New Right). The author argues that the ND is a heterogeneous, pan-European “school of thought” consisting of different ideological tendencies. Yet, contrary to the predominant interpretation of the revolutionary right as “anti-modern” and “reactionary”, key ND thinkers, including its leader Alain de Benoist, are wedded to a revolutionary, alternative modernist conception of politics which is neither liberal nor socialist. The paper in question begins by assessing whether the ND is a fascist movement. The paper then focuses on Roger Griffin's “ideal type” definitions of modernism and fascism to argue that ND theorists fit within modernist and fascist frameworks with roots in the late 19th and 20th centuries. The ND's modernist framework seeks to “rescue” contemporary Europe from its profound “decadence” and “crises” in a seemingly contradictory ideological pastiche (i.e., “mazeway resynthesis”) combining premodern, modern, and postmodern political and philosophical influences.

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2012-01-01
2017-01-17

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