Date of Completion
Honors College Thesis
College of Arts and Science Honors, Honors College
Alan Steinweis, Ph.D
Susanna Schrafstetter, Ph.D
Adriana Borra, M.A.
Right wing extremism, right wing radicalism, Identity Politics, Memes, Postmodernity, Fascism
This thesis aims to map the material, discursive, and ideological foundations of the new far right in Germany within the context of neoliberalism and multiculturalism, the economic and social regimes of modern globalization, as well as exploring the right wing’s relationship with postmodernism and the internet. It is an attempt to create a picture of the contemporary far right that utilizes a variety of different conceptual approaches, illustrating that it cannot be explained as a spontaneous revival of fascism, racism, etc. but rather must be seen as a product of the specific profound historical and social transformations of our time. As the title suggests, it will use Jeffrey Herf’s concept of reactionary modernism, describing the two-sided nature of Nazism: decrying the social projects of modernity like democracy while simultaneously obsessing itself with and efficiently using modern technology for its ends. This project evaluates that two-sidedness of contemporary far right movements: though xenophobic nationalism, welfare chauvinism, and appeals to tradition are certainly nothing new, there seems to be a distinctly postmodern (or “late modern”) quality to groups like the Identitarian Movement. Not only do they embrace and skillfully use new technologies such as the internet, but they also appeal to the identity politics of the mainstream while co-opting the leftist theories of cultural hegemony and metapolitics of Gramsci and Badiou. Given this, is it even right to view the contemporary right as a “regression,” or is it simply a different expression of 21st century culture?
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Fitz, William Peter, "Reactionary Postmodernism? Neoliberalism, Multiculturalism, the Internet, and the Ideology of the New Far Right in Germany" (2018). UVM Honors College Senior Theses. 275.