Integral Europe: Fast-Capitalism, Multiculturalism, Neofascism

Integral Europe: Fast-Capitalism, Multiculturalism, Neofascism

Integral Europe: Fast-Capitalism, Multiculturalism, Neofascism

Integral Europe: Fast-Capitalism, Multiculturalism, Neofascism


"A powerful and disturbing piece of contemporary ethnographic work that will raise many questions and open serious debate."--Paul Rabinow, University of California-Berkeley


This text examines how a group of committed partisans sought during the last decade of the twentieth century to recast European society as a moral framework, analytical construct, and empirical fact. the study focuses on their alternative depiction of society, a view of collectivity with deep roots in European romantic tradition and, more broadly, in what Isaiah Berlin calls the “Counter-Enlightenment.” in fundamental ways this type of societal framework—which I describe as integralist in nature—is opposed to modernist conceptions of society as embodied, most notably, in the contemporary project of advanced European integration. Integralism is premised on a distinctive orientation to collective experience with unusual intellectual resonances: Johann Herder's populism, expressionism, and pluralism; Emile Durkheim's mechanical solidarity; and Georges Sorel's synthesis of nationalism and socialism. I demonstrate in this text how these elements can be cast as a volatile theory of society.

There are many ways I could have studied the general phenomenon of integralism ethnographically. I initially encountered it in rural districts of Italy, manifest as intimate forms of social practice and as shared idioms of cultural expression, as a style of life. I chose, however, to reorient the research by focusing on politicians who were articulating radical agendas that drew directly on integralist ideals and who sought to exploit the distinctive contemporary struggles they encompassed for individuals and groups. I found these political figures capable of endowing these changes with not just a distinctive narration but also a critical language, a language that drew on what they understood as “inner truths” for its legitimacy and power.

In pursuing this research I have navigated a broad range of scholarship outside of anthropology from the political science of European integration to the history of European fascism. the reader will note that I employ this other scholarship in a double fashion—on the one hand, to further directly my own argumentation and, on the other, to establish an alternative or complementary anthropological perspective on these same issues. My purpose is to contribute to the delineation of a distinctive purview for an anthropology of Europe. I am by no means alone in this project. This preoccupation has been at the center of Michael Herzfeld's work as well as the work of John Borneman.

Although my research is, I believe, fundamentally consistent with the tradition of anthropological work in Europe, it also involves a series of experiments. the most obvious of these is the movement of the . . .

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