• Roberto J. GonzálezEmail author


This chapter summarizes the predominant themes that cut across the other chapters in the book. The themes are presented as three “triggers” that have played a role in reactivating right-wing populism in Europe. These include immigration, particularly that which followed the refugee crisis that began in 2015; economic crisis in the wake of the 2007–2008 global recession; and a general crisis of sovereignty, sparked by the shortcomings of global institutions and multilateral organizations such as the European Union. The chapter suggests that the rise of nationalist populism is also partly the result of a failure of liberal and left political parties—not only their abandonment of working-class voters in favor of neoliberal interests, but also their connections to a transnational urban elite class, the members of whom are often employed in fields like biotechnology, Internet technology, and academia. The chapter concludes by suggesting that anthropologists should develop new research projects on right-wing populism—not only in Europe but globally—and that they should also be wary of the ways in which their academic and political work might be used to reinforce stereotypes that serve the interests of nationalist populists.


Right-wing populism Immigration Economic crisis Sovereignty Social media Anthropology 


  1. Brandes, Stanley. 2015. Fascism and Social Anthropology: The Case of Spain under Franco. Anthropological Quarterly 88 (3): 795–816.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Caldwell, A., and S. Randazzo. 2018. Trump Administration Says Hundreds of Migrant Parents May Have Been Deported. Wall Street Journal, July 24.Google Scholar
  3. Cienski, Jan. 2017. Why Poland Doesn’t Want Refugees., May 21.
  4. Davidson, Thomas, and Julius Lagodny. 2017. Germany’s Far-Right Party AfD Won the Facebook Battle—By a Lot. Washington Post, September 26.
  5. Dreher, Rod. 2017. White Genocidaires for Trump. The American Conservative, January 18.
  6. Eriksen, Thomas Hylland. 2016. Europe’s Destructive Spirals of Distrust. Sapiens, May 18.
  7. Frank, Thomas. 2004. What’s the Matter with Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America. New York: Henry Holt.Google Scholar
  8. Giroux, Henry A. 2016. Donald Trump and Neo-Fascism in America. Arena Magazine 140 (February/March): 31–32.Google Scholar
  9. González, Roberto J. 2017. Hacking the Citizenry? Personality Profiling, “Big Data” and the Election of Donald Trump. Anthropology Today 33 (3): 9–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Greenwald, Glenn. 2018. Brazil’s Bolsonaro-Led Far Right Wins a Victory Far More Sweeping and Dangerous Than Anyone Predicted. The Intercept, October 8.
  11. Gusterson, Hugh. 2017. From Brexit to Trump: Anthropology and the Rise of Nationalist Populism. American Ethnologist 44 (2): 209–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Haugerud, Angelique. 2005. Globalization and Thomas Friedman. In Why America’s Top Pundits Are Wrong, ed. Catherine Besteman and Hugh Gusterson, 102–120. Berkeley/Los Angeles: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  13. Hertz, Ellen, and Laura Nader. 2005. On the Lexus and the Olive Tree by Thomas L. Friedman. In Why America’s Top Pundits Are Wrong, ed. Catherine Besteman and Hugh Gusterson, 121–137. Berkeley/Los Angeles: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  14. Jaschik, Scott. 2017. “Society Must Be Defended”: Anthropologists and Other Scholars Plan Read-In of Michel Foucault to Mark Inauguration of Donald Trump. InsideHigherEd, January 16.
  15. Jefferson, Rodney, and Wojciech Moskwa. 2018. The Ugly Side of Poland’s Booming Economy. Bloomberg Businessweek, July 30.
  16. Johnson, Jenna. 2015. Trump Calls for “Total and Complete Shutdown of Muslims Entering the United States.” Washington Post, December 7.
  17. Klein, Naomi. 2016. It Was the Democrats’ Embrace of Neoliberalism That Won It for Trump. The Guardian, November 9.
  18. Mahmud, Lilith. 2016. We Have Never Been Liberal: Occidentalist Myths and the Impending Fascist Apocalypse. Cultural Anthropology Fieldsights, October 27.
  19. Martin, Keir, and Jakob Krause-Jensen. 2017. Trump: Transacting Trickster. Anthropology Today 33 (3): 5–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Media Matters. 2017. Limbaugh: Propaganda from Professors and Comedians Has “Indoctrinated” Young People to Believe in Climate Change, June 6.
  21. Mohdin, Aamna. 2018. A Single Country Granted 60% of Positive Asylum Decisions in the EU. Quartz, April 19.
  22. Mollona, Massimiliano. 2009. Made in Sheffield: An Ethnography of Industrial Work and Politics. New York: Berghahn.Google Scholar
  23. Nader, Laura. 1969. Up the Anthropologist: Perspectives Gained from Studying Up. In Reinventing Anthropology, ed. Dell Hymes, 284–311. New York: Vintage.Google Scholar
  24. Rensin, Emmett. 2016. The Smug Style in American Liberalism. Vox, April 21.
  25. Robins-Early, Nick. 2017. Far-Right Bots Are the Secret of Marine Le Pen’s Social Media Boom. Huffington Post, March 7.
  26. Rzepnikowska-Phillips, Alina. 2018. Racism and Xenophobia Experienced by Polish Migrants in the UK Before and After Brexit Vote. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. Scholar
  27. Shapiro, L., and M. Sharma. 2018. How Many Migrant Children Are Still Separated from Their Families? Washington Post, August 17.
  28. Shosan, Nitzan. 2016. The Management of Hate: Nation, Affect, and the Governance of Right-Wing Extremism in Germany. Princeton: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Stein, Felix. 2016. Anthropology, Brexit and Xenophobia in Europe. Political and Legal Anthropology Blog, June 28.
  30. The Economist. 2011. The Full Monti, November 19.
  31. Tufekci, Zeynep. 2018. How Social Media Took Us from Tahrir Square to Donald Trump. MIT Technology Review, August 14.
  32. Vertovec, Steven. 2010. The Multiculturalism Backlash: European Discourses, Policies, and Practices. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Walley, Christine. 2017. Trump’s Election and the “White Working Class”: What We Missed. American Ethnologist 44 (2): 231–236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Weatherford, Jack. 1981. Tribes on the Hill. New York: Rawson, Wade Publishers.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologySan José State UniversitySan JoséUSA

Personalised recommendations