“Clash of Civilizations” Concept in the EU Right-Wing Populists’ Discourse

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Abstract


The concept of “clash of civilizations”, proposed by S. Huntington in the early 1990s, has been controversial, yet has found a solid following, primarily among the right side of the political spectrum in Europe and the US. Since such humanitarian aspects as culture, religion, civilization and national identity are central to modern political debates in the West, it is essential to delve more deeply into civilizational discourse of political actors. This article examines the idea of “clash of civilizations” in the rhetoric of three key right-wing populist parties of the EU: the French “National Rally” (“Rassemblement National”), the Hungarian “Fidesz” and the Dutch “Party for Freedom” (“Partij voor de Vrijheid”). While Huntington wrote about clashes of nations, representative of different civilizations, the right-wing populist focus on civilization clashes at national levels, primarily between Muslim immigrants coming to the EU, whose beliefs are pictured as intrinsically hostile to western values, and native-born Europeans who supposedly hold “JudeoChristian” civilizational identity. Judeo-Christian identity can de described as an “imaginary community” comprising some aspects of Christianity, Enlightenment & humanistic philosophy, which implies secularism and respect for human rights.


About the authors

Stanislav O. Byshok

Lomonosov Moscow State University; Autonomous non-profit organization “International election monitoring organization CIS-EMO”

Author for correspondence.
Email: sbyshok@gmail.com
1 Leninskie gory, Moscow, Russian Federation, 119991; Tekstilshchikov 8th str., 11, Moscow, Russian Federation, 109129

PhD candidate in Political Science, Lomonosov Moscow State University, CEO at the Autonomous non-profit organization “International election monitoring organization CIS-EMO”

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