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Europe from the far right: Europe in the ideology of the Front National and Movimento Sociale Italiano/Alleanza Nazionale (1978-2017)

Lorimer, Marta (2019) Europe from the far right: Europe in the ideology of the Front National and Movimento Sociale Italiano/Alleanza Nazionale (1978-2017). PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Born as a small economic union, the European Union has become a large supranational political organisation. Far right parties have been vocal critics of this process, leading some to consider opposition to European integration as one of their defining ideological features. Closer inspection of their position, however, reveals that their views are more complex than the label ‘Euroscepticism’ captures. What, then, is the relationship between the far right and ‘Europe’? What do they mean by it and how has it become a part of their ideology? To address these questions, this thesis carries out an in-depth interpretive analysis of party documents produced between 1978 and 2017 by the Movimento Sociale Italiano/Alleanza Nazionale in Italy and the Front National in France. Employing morphological analysis, it studies how these parties integrated Europe into their ideology, and how they defined their positions on the European Union. The thesis’ core contention is that the MSI/AN and FN repurposed key elements of their ideology to integrate Europe into their worldview, thus giving rise to a distinctive far right conception of Europe. In particular, it shows how they employed the three concepts of Identity, Liberty and Threat to present a distinctive conception of Europe as a bounded community, a space of freedom, and an endangered civilisation. It then illustrates how these concepts, along with the concept of National Interest, came together in the parties’ positioning on the European Union. Through its diachronic focus, the thesis highlights how the parties display a strong level of continuity in their conception of Europe, using the same concepts to define it throughout the period of the study. These findings demonstrate the need to subject the equation of far right ideology and Euroscepticism to further scrutiny and acknowledge the complexity of far right thinking on Europe.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2019 Marta Lorimer
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
Sets: Departments > European Institute
Supervisor: White, Jonathan and Eatwell, Roger

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