The Influence of Populism and Nationalism on European International Cultural Relations and Cultural Diplomacy

  • Richard Higgott
  • Virginia Proud
Part of the The European Union in International Affairs book series (EUIA)


This chapter captures the ideological essence of what we call the populist nationalist zeitgeist (PNZ) and the degree to which it has infiltrated the European political and policy process. It pays particular attention to the role of emerging communications technologies and practices, such as social media, as a key enabler of the PNZ. At the empirical level, it investigates trends and practices of populist movements in their views and influences on international relations and foreign policy. It gives special attention to the cultural dynamics of foreign policy and the degree to which actors (from both government and civil society) can develop strategies of cultural resilience against the populist nationalist urge. The chapter highlights that such strategies cannot be pursued in isolation from their wider socio-political and economic contexts. Hence, it identifies the strength of the PNZ and its implications in political and applied policy settings. While not homogenous, populist nationalist movements in Europe are shown to share belief in the concepts of sovereignty, nation and identity in preference to those of global society, cooperation and cosmopolitanism.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Higgott
    • 1
  • Virginia Proud
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for European Studies (IES)Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB)BrusselsBelgium

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