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Title: Missionary politics in contemporary Europe : Jean Marie Le Pen's National Front and Umberto Bossi's Northern League
Author: Zúquete, José Pedro
ISNI:       0000 0004 2744 1316
Awarding Body: University of Bath
Current Institution: University of Bath
Date of Award: 2004
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Despite its supposed secularization, in the last decades Europe has witnessed the flourishing of neo-populist movements - commonly regarded as 'extreme right wing movements' - which are characterized by charismatic leaders who proclaim their world- rejecting Salvationist creed to a devoted following. Previous explanations of these movements have been primarily materialistic. While valuable, such explanations do not address the internal beliefs, practices and world-views that motivate these groups. This thesis uses extensive archival material, interviews, publications, speeches, and other empirical data from within two of the most successful such groups, the National Front of Jean-Marie Le Pen and the Northern League of Umberto Bossi, to develop a more productive and inclusive model of charismatic political movements in the contemporary West. The thesis pays special attention to the non-material dimensions of these movements, focusing on the cultural frames that sustain the groups, sacralize them and provide them with a world-view and place in history. These findings are systematized and integrated into an ideal type, designated as "Missionary Politics." This missionary form of politics should be understood, following the methodological path of Emilio Gentile and Roger Griffm, as a cluster concept, defmed as a political religion, and characterized by a dynamic interaction between charismatic leadership, a narrative of salvation, outsiderhood and ritualization, and the creation of a moral community invested with a collective mission of battling 'conspiratorial enemies and of redeeming the nation from its current crisis. The thesis argues that the notion of Missionary Politics sheds light on non- material dynamics in contemporary radical populist movements that have previously been unnoticed or ignored by contemporary social analysis. Furthermore, current trends toward increased globalization, European integration, and Islamic immigration have the potential to increase the allure and potency of charismatic European faith-based movements proclaiming a politics of salvation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available