Conversations on Europe. Security Crises: Extreme Nationalism and Threats to Democracy in Europe

Mabel Berezin, professor of sociology, Cornell University

Mabel Berezin Mabel Berezin
Since the sovereign debt crisis hit Europe in 2010, there has been a resurgence of right or extreme nationalist parties in virtually every former Western European country and in some Eastern European countries. Analysts at first viewed these “minor” upticks as a passing sign of fringe voter discontent. The move to the right did not go away and has gained momentum even in countries such as Social Democratic Sweden where the idea of a right nationalist party polling at 25% would have been unthinkable even a year ago. The combination of ongoing financial crisis and the current migration crisis appears to be a harbinger of unspecified disaster—if the EU cannot come up with policies soon that adjudicate these dual crises. Many commentators and some academics have argued that this right nationalist resurgence signals a return of the politics of the 1930s. This talk takes on these issues and addresses the ways in which that assessment is plausible.

Mabel Berezin is a professor of sociology at Cornell who writes on challenges to democratic cohesion and solidarity in Europe and the United States. She is the author of "Illiberal Politics in Neoliberal Times: Culture, Security, and Populism in the New Europe" (Cambridge 2009) and "Making the Fascist Self: The Political Culture of Inter-war Italy" (Cornell 1997). She has lectured widely in Europe and the US and is working on a book-length manuscript on the resurgence of extreme nationalism in contemporary Europe.
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