Decay and rebirth : Conceptions of history in Norwegian right-wing extremism
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Original versionWilhelmsen, F. (2021). Decay and rebirth: Conceptions of history in Norwegian right-wing extremism (PhD thesis). Nord University.
This thesis investigates the conceptions of history that underpin fascist and right-wing extremist ideologies – in the present, but also in the past. Based on primarily Norwegian case studies, the thesis looks at how various extreme right ideologies have diagnosed the present and linked this diagnosis together with a vision of the past and an anticipation of the future. The thesis utilises qualitative methods on various types of textual material and analyses Norwegian far right discourses on time and history in different historical and sociological contexts: the attempt at creating a fascist mass movement in and around Nasjonal Samling in the 1930s and 1940s; the attempts at reformulating and ‘modernizing’ Nazism from the 1970s and forwards; and, finally, newer currents of Islamophobic rightwing extremism and lone-actor terrorism that have surfaced in the last couple of decades. Consisting of five articles, the thesis argues not only that the fascist or right-wing extremist conceptions of history are Manichean, marked by pitting a ‘good’ and ‘healthy’ in-group against an ‘evil’ and ‘corrupted’ out-group, it also argues that it is possible to identify a structurally similar ‘regime of historicity’ underpinning different right-wing extremist currents and ideologies. This regime of historicity revolves around a nurturing of idealised and nostalgic myths about the past, a diagnosis of the present as decadent, and dreams about reversing the alleged uprooting in modern societies by fostering a revolutionary and purified new order. Believing that the people are facing an existential threat of worldhistorical proportions, they see this rejuvenation as a prerequisite to secure the future of the people.
Doctoral thesis (PhD) – Nord University, 2021
Has partsPaper I: Wilhelmsen, F. (2021). Reconnecting forward: Nasjonal Samling’s apocalyptic temporality as a key to the fascist regime of historicity. Fascism: Journal of Comparative Fascist Studies, 10(1), 134-165. doi: 10.1163/22116257-10010005
Paper II: Wilhelmsen, F. (2021). From new order to the millennium of white power: Norwegian fascism between party politics and lone-actor terrorism. Politics, Religion & Ideology, 22(1). doi: 10.1080/21567689.2021.1877669
Paper III: Wilhelmsen, F. (2022). When the medium Is not the message: Breivik, Tarrant, and the conceptions of history of contemporary right-wing extremist lone-actor terrorists. Fascism: Journal of Comparative Fascist Studies, 11(1), 109-138. doi: 10.1163/22116257-bja10025
Paper IV: Wilhelmsen, F. (2021). ‘The wife would put on a nice suit, hat, and possibly gloves’: The misogynistic identity politics of Anders Behring Breivik. Fascism: Journal of Comparative Fascist Studies, 10(1), 108-133. doi: 10.1163/22116257-10010003
Paper V: Wilhelmsen, F. (2021). Heroic pasts and anticipated futures: A comparative analysis of the conceptions of history of the Nordic Resistance Movement and Generation Identity. Politics, Religion & Ideology, 22(3-4), 277-301. doi: 10.1080/21567689.2021.1968842