25 October 2012 - 26 October 2012
Time: 9:00am - 5:00pm
Venue: Room 602, GO Jones Building, Mile End Campus
The (re)emergence of far-right parties and social movements in various parts of the world ¬– and particularly in Europe – in recent years has been widely discussed in the press and in academic commentary. In contrast to their ‘revolutionary’ bedfellows on the communist left, since the end of the Cold War far-right parties have come to form a significant and disturbing part of the political geography in a number of countries. Whilst their influence has been uneven – from participating in governing coalitions in Western Europe (the Austrian Freedom Party and the Italian Lega Nord) and in India (the Bharatiya Janata Party) – to spawning a violent Islamophobic street movement (the English Defence League in the UK), to forming a major component of anti-imperialist movements across much of the Islamic world, their general appearance across time and space suggests that the current era is comparable to the earlier historical conjunctures of far-right mobilization in the late nineteenth century and inter-war periods. The varied forms of far-right have combined with their contrasting ideological dimensions, which has made the taxonomy of far-right something of an academic industry in itself. In particular, the far-right has come to be divided over its ‘post-fascist’ rhetorical commitment to (liberal) democracy as opposed to an authoritarian and demagogic populism and also between a neo-fascist commitment to a statist and protectionist model of capitalism and an embrace of much of the policy formulas of neo-liberalism by some strands of the contemporary far-right.
These developments raise a number of analytical and political questions. How distinct are these contemporary manifestations of the far-right compared to the previous historical forms of the far-right? How analytically useful is the concept of fascism in describing the generic far-right? What are the social bases of the far-right – past and present? Which methodological framework provides the most useful analytical tool to examine and understand the far-right? What of the relationship between the evolving dynamics of uneven capitalist development and geopolitical order on the determination of far-right movements – historical and contemporary?
The aim of this workshop is to promote an inter-disciplinary engagement with these issues through bringing together scholars from a range of different subject areas (IR, IPE, Geography, History, Sociology, Comparative Politics and Political Theory) to re-think the linkages between the historical, sociological and international dimensions of the far-right – as ideology, movement and state – over the longue durée from its emergence as a distinct and modern form of politics in the late nineteenth century to its more recent re-emergence in their intertwining local, national and international contexts.