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School of Politics and International Relations

Fascism and Democracy

12 March 2019

Time: 6:00 - 7:30pm
Venue: Fogg Lecture Theatre, Queen Mary University of London, Mile End Road, E1 4NS

What is the relationship between fascism and democracy? Fascism can be seen as an ideology, political movement and state form which emerges in context of a crisis within democratic forms of representation. Fascism claims to represent the ‘will of the people’ and challenges existing political elites. Fascism flourishes in contexts where existing forms of political representation appear to have failed and competes with other political parties for mass support. Successful fascisms were based on a wide social appeal drawing support from across the class divide. However, fascism is also committed to the destruction of the workings of democratic government alongside a murderous assault on its democratic opponents and fascism resulted in the construction of ‘states of terror’. In this discussion on the relationship between fascism and democracy we are joined by three distinguished scholars to address the difficult and disturbing relationship between fascism and democracy and what the significance of this relationship might be for examining the challenges to, and the crises within, contemporary forms of representative democracy.


Roger Griffin is Professor is Emeritus Professor in Modern History at Oxford Brookes University. He is one of the world’s leading experts on the socio-historical and ideological dynamics of fascism and is the author of numerous articles and books on fascism, including The Nature of Fascism (Routledge, 1993), Modernism and fascism: the sense of a beginning under Mussolini and Hitler (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007) and Fascism: An Introduction to Comparative Fascist Studies (Polity Press, 2018).

Daphne Halikiopoulou is Associate Professor in Comparative Politics at the University of Reading. She has written extensively on radical nationalism, the politics of exclusion as well as the cultural and economic determinants of support for far right parties. She is author of Patterns of Secularization: Church, State and Nation in Greece and the Republic of Ireland (Ashgate 2011) and co-author of The Golden Dawn's Nationalist Solution: Explaining the Rise of the Far Right in Greece (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015 – with Sofia Vasilopoulou).

Alberto Toscano is Reader in Critical Theory and Co-Director of the Centre for Philosophy and Critical Theory at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is the author of Fanaticism: On the Uses of an Idea (2010), and the co-editor of The Italian Difference: Between Nihilism and Biopolitics (Re:press, 2009 – with Lorenzo Chiesa). He is also a member of the editorial board of the journal, Historical Materialism: Research in Critical Marxist Theory.


Rick Saull is Senior Lecturer in International Politics at Queen Mary, University of London. In recent years he has published widely on the history and politics of the far-right and is co-editor of The Longue Durée of the Far-Right: An International Historical Sociology (Routledge, 2015 – with Alexander Anievas, Neil Davidson and Adam Fabry).


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