This is the first part of a panel held during the 2017 American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. The second part is freely available to all readers in the most recent issue of Focaal here.
Over the past decade, the dramatic ascendance of ethno-nationalist and right-wing populist movements and projects has been reshaping the European and North American political landscape. While such movements and projects have played crucial roles in European politics since the emergence of the nation-state—most dramatically so with the rise and fall of fascism in the 1930s and 1940s—they have hitherto remained mostly at the margins of established national and international politics in post–World War II Euro-America. A string of political events, most notably the election of Donald Trump and his turbulent presidency, the Brexit referendum that is about to propel the United Kingdom out of the EU, and the electoral successes (if not always victories) of decidedly nationalist and far-right populist parties across Europe, however, have underlined the viability and dynamism of ethno-nationalism, right-wing populism, and far-right political projects in Europe and the United United. Crucially, it has also become clear that many of these projects and movements both represent and amplify a passionate rejection of what is often described as the failings of the “liberal elite.”