The Rise of Nativism in Europe

“Although published in 1955 with the United States between 1860 and 1925 as its object of analysis, Higham’s book proves to be useful for the purpose of understanding nativist politics in contemporary Europe. First, his definition is useful (“intense opposition to an internal minority on the ground of its foreign […] connections.” (2011: 4) because it is more specific than the terms “nationalism” or “xenophobia.” Second, his definition includes the possibility of framing ‘native’ elites as a national threat (they are “native” yet “foreign” –so not “truly native”- to the nation at the same time). Last, his threefold subcategorization of nativism appears to be productive for many European cases. Inspired by Higham, for the Dutch context we distinguish between three subtypes of nativism, all revolving around the perceived threat of the nation, yet with varying emphasis: 1) religious nativism, problematizing Islam and Muslims; 2) class nativism, problematizing the ‘native’ elites seen as a threat to national identity, and 3) racial nativism, problematizing Black anti-racism.”

Read the article with Josip Kesic in Europe Now

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