Neo-nationalism[1][2] or new nationalism[3][4] is a type of nationalism that rose in the mid-2010s in Europe and North America and to some degree in other regions. It is associated with several positions, such as right-wing populism,[5] anti-globalization,[6] nativism,[5] protectionism,[7] opposition to immigration[2] and Euroscepticism where applicable. According to one scholar, "nationalist resistance to global liberalism turned out to be the most influential force in Western politics" in 2016.[8] Particularly notable expressions of new nationalism include the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum and the election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States.[9][10][11]

Overview and characteristics

Writing for Politico, Michael Hirsh described new nationalism as "a bitter populist rejection of the status quo that global elites have imposed on the international system since the Cold War ended, and which lower-income voters have decided—understandably—is unfair".[3][4] Michael Brendan Dougherty wrote in The Week that new nationalism is a "broad nativist revolt" against post-Cold War politics long "characterized by an orthodoxy of free trade, nurturing the service economy, neoliberal trading arrangements, and liberalized immigration policies".[12]

The Economist wrote in November 2016 that "new nationalists are riding high on promises to close borders and restore societies to a past homogeneity".[13] Clarence Page wrote in the Las Vegas Sun that "a new neo-tribal nationalism has boiled up in European politics and to a lesser degree in the United States since the global economic meltdown of 2008"[14] and Ryan Cooper in The Week[15] and researchers with the Centre for Economic Policy Research[16] have linked 21st-century right-wing populism to the Great Recession. According to Harvard political theorist Yascha Mounk, "economic stagnation among lower- and middle-class whites [has been] a main driver for nationalism's rise around the globe".[17] According to religion scholar Mark L. Movesian, new nationalism "sets the nation-state against supranational, liberal regimes like the EU or NAFTA, and local customs and traditions, including religious traditions, against alien, outside trends".[8]

David Brog and Yoram Hazony wrote in National Review that some conservatives view the new nationalism associated with Brexit and Donald Trump as a betrayal of conservative ideology while they see it as a "return".[18] According to conservative commentator Jonah Goldberg, the nationalism associated with Trump is "really little more than a brand name for generic white identity politics".[4]

Writing for The Week, Damon Linker called the idea of neo-nationalism being racist "nonsense" and went on to say that "the tendency of progressives to describe it as nothing but 'racism, Islamophobia, and xenophobia'—is the desire to delegitimize any particularistic attachment or form of solidarity, be it national, linguistic, religious, territorial, or ethnic".[19]

Regarding new nationalism, The Economist said that "Mr Trump needs to realize that his policies will unfold in the context of other countries’ jealous nationalism" and called nationalism itself a "slippery concept" that is "easy to manipulate". They also repeatedly contrasted ethnic nationalism and civic nationalism and implied new nationalism could become "angry" and difficult to control, citing Chinese nationalism as an example.[20]

Associated politicians, parties and events


China's paramount leader Xi Jinping's (assumed office in 2012) concept of "Chinese Dream" has been described as an expression of new nationalism.[21]


Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi (assumed office in 2014), has been described as a new nationalist.[22][23]

Hong Kong

The Hong Kong nationalism evolved from the localist movement in Hong Kong stresses the distinct Hong Kong identity as opposed to Chinese national identity promoted by the Beijing government and its growing encroachment on the city's management of its own political, economic and social affairs.[24][25] The localist rhetorics, often mix with the nation's right to self-determination as well as anti-immigration stances against mainland immigrants and tourists, preserving local identity and culture similar to the Western new nationalism.


Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (assumed office in 2010), the leader of the ruling Fidesz party, has been described as a new nationalist.[26]


Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (assumed office in 2014) and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have been referred to as new nationalist.[22] Modi is a member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a right-wing paramilitary organisation aligned with the BJP, which has also been said to advocate a new nationalist ideology.[27]

Yogi Adityanath, Chief Minister of the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh (assumed office in 2017), has also been identified as a new nationalist.[28] He has been touted as a future Prime Minister of the country.[29]


Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte (assumed office in 2018), head of the populist coalition Government of Change,[30] and in particular his Interior Minister and League's leader Matteo Salvini, were often described as new nationalists.[31][32][33] Salvini has been described by some media outlets as the most powerful politician in the country, and a "de facto prime minister".[34][35][36]

Giorgia Meloni, the leader of Brothers of Italy, a party supporting the government on a case-by-case basis,[37] has also been described as a new nationalist.[38][39]


The 63rd and current Prime Minister Shinzō Abe (assumed office in 2012), a member of the right-wing organisation Nippon Kaigi, has promoted ideas of new nationalism, as does the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan, which he leads.[40]


Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (assumed office in 2016) has been described as a new nationalist.[41]


The sixth and current President of Poland Andrzej Duda (assumed office in August 2015) is regularly cited as being a leading figure in the new nationalist movement within Poland.[42] Furthermore, the ruling Law and Justice party, led by Jarosław Kaczyński, promoted nationalist views to win an outright majority in the national elections of 2015 (a feat never before accomplished).[43] Despite not holding a government office, Kaczyński has been described as the figure who makes the "final call" on all major political issues in Poland.[44]


President of Russia Vladimir Putin (second President of Russia from 2000 to 2008 and fourth President of Russia from 2012) has been labelled a new nationalist.[9] Putin has been described by Hirsh as "the harbinger of this new global nationalism".[3] Charles Clover, the Moscow bureau chief of the Financial Times from 2008 to 2013, wrote a book in 2016 titled Black Wind, White Snow: The Rise of Russia's New Nationalism.[45]


In 2014, Mustafa Akyol wrote of a new "brand of Turkish neonationalism" promoted by Justice and Development Party (AKP), the country's ruling party, the leader of which is President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (assumed office in 2014).[46][9]

Devlet Bahçeli, the leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), has been described as creating a "new nationalist front" by forming the People's Alliance with Erdoğan's AKP in 2018.[47] The MHP is affiliated with the Grey Wolves paramilitary organisation, which Erdoğan has also expressed support for.[48]

United Kingdom

The 23 June 2016 referendum in the United Kingdom to leave the European Union ("Brexit") has been described as a milestone of new nationalism.[49][50] Owen Matthews noted similarities in motives for support of the Brexit movement and Trump. He wrote in Newsweek that supporters of both are motivated by "a yearning to control immigration, reverse globalization and restore national greatness by disengaging from the wide, threatening world".[51]

Matthew O'Brien wrote of the Brexit as "the most shocking success for the new nationalism sweeping the Western world".[52] Leaders of the Brexit campaign, such as Nigel Farage, the leader of the eurosceptic UK Independence Party; former London Mayor Boris Johnson; Vote Leave Co-Convenor Michael Gove; Brexit Secretary David Davis; and European Research Group chairman Jacob Rees-Mogg, have been called "new nationalists".[3][53][54]

United States

Donald Trump's rise to the Republican candidacy was widely described as a sign of growing new nationalism in the United States.[3][4] A Chicago Sun-Times editorial on the day of the inauguration of Donald Trump called him "our new nationalist president".[55] The appointment of Steve Bannon, the executive of Breitbart News (associated with the alt-right), was described by one analyst as arousal of a "new world order, driven by patriotism and a fierce urge to look after your own, a neo-nationalism that endlessly smears Muslims and strives to turn back the clock on free trade and globalization, a world where military might counts for far more than diplomacy and compromise".[56]

In the wake of Trump's election, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio has called for a "new nationalism" to oppose “economic elitism that has replaced a commitment to the dignity of work with a blind faith in financial markets and that views America simply as an economy instead of a nation."[57]

Other countries

The following politicians have all been described in some way as being new nationalists:

The following parties have all been described in some way as being new nationalist parties:

See also


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