The New Right, global nationalistic activism and the Flemish identitarian movement Schild & Vrienden. A case study.

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This paper argues that nationalism, and nationalistic activism in particular are being globalized. At least certain fringes of radical nationalist activists are organized as ‘cellular systems’ connected and mobilize-able on a global scale, giving birth to what I call ‘global nationalistic activism’. New Right nationalistic movements around the world form a global activist network. Given this change in nationalist activism, I claim that we should abandon all ‘methodological nationalism’. Methodological nationalism fails in arriving at a thorough understanding of the impact, scale and mobilization power of contemporary ‘national(istic)’ political activism. It inevitably will also contribute to the naturalization, or in emic terms the metapolitical goals, of global nationalist activists. The paradox is of course evident: global nationalism uses the scale-advantages, network effects and the benefits of cellular structures to fight for the (re)construction of the old 19th-century vertebrate system par excellence: the (blood and soil) nation. Nevertheless, this, I will show, is an indisputable empirical reality: the many local nationalistic battles are more and more embedded in globally operating digital infrastructures mobilizing militants from all corners of the world for nationalist causes at home. Digitalization has not only enabled the diaspora to fight for their nation from abroad, it has also mobilized non-nationals to fight (from abroad) alongside local nationalists for their nation. Nationalist activism in the 21st century, so goes my argument, has important global dimensions which are easily repatriated for national use. This forces us to adjust our understanding of locality, nationalism and our methodological apparatus.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial Media + Society
Publication statusSubmitted - 2018


  • nationalism
  • globalization
  • digital media
  • global nationalism
  • fear of small numbers
  • digital activism
  • schild & vrienden


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