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Photo:Meeting 1er mai 2012 Front National“, by Blandine Le Cain licensed under CC BY 2.0. Hue is modified from the original.

Cerrone, Joseph. “Reconciling National and Supranational Identities: Civilizationism in European Far-Right Discourse.” Perspectives on Politics (2022): 1-16.


How do European far-right parties reconcile their long-standing nationalism with their allegiance to European “civilization”? Although they are certainly not contradictory, simultaneously adopting national and supranational identities requires considerable discursive maneuvering to articulate clearly. In this article, I argue that the European Far Right negotiates the boundaries between its national and supranational identities through two discursive mechanisms, abstraction and embedding, which present civilizationism as nonthreatening to and partially constituted by nationalism. Specifically, abstraction links European civilization to general features of a shared heritage, whereas embedding connects civilization to elements of the nationalist repertoire. I demonstrate the Far Right’s monopolization of civilizational discourse and use of these twin mechanisms through quantitative and qualitative analyses of more than 1,000 party manifestos and more than 650,000 tweets. These findings contribute to the growing scholarly literature that treats civilizations as supranational “imagined communities” and has implications for the study of nationalism, civilizationism, and the Far Right.

The Illiberalism Studies Program studies the different faces of illiberal politics and thought in today’s world, taking into account the diversity of their cultural context, their intellectual genealogy, the sociology of their popular support, and their implications on the international scene.