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Ethnic absolutism and the authoritarian spirit

Bhatt, Chetan ORCID: 0000-0002-4025-4203 (1999) Ethnic absolutism and the authoritarian spirit. Theory, Culture & Society, 16 (2). pp. 65-85. ISSN 0263-2764

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Identification Number: 10.1177/02632769922050557


This article explores the ideological and historical basis of new authoritarian South Asian and Hindu movements, and considers the links between their ideologies and the history of racial and ethnic formations in the west during the Enlightenment period. Using Paul Gilroy's work on radical black conservatism as a starting point, the author explores some of the metaphysical ideas behind the late modern recovery of primordial ethnic belonging. The author considers the possibilities of a volkish anti-racism in contemporary movements by highlighting the similarities between contemporary right-wing Hindu revival and older German romantic strands that cultivated `primordial' nationalisms based on an appropriation of archaic Vedic scriptures. The background to the concept `Aryan' is explored. The author considers how many far-right ideas about ethnicity and nationalism have found a deep resonance in `New Age' writings. The conclusion links these themes to a broader discussion of metaphysical ideas.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 1999 SAGE
Divisions: LSE Human Rights
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
J Political Science > JC Political theory
J Political Science > JQ Political institutions Asia
Date Deposited: 28 Apr 2010 16:06
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2021 00:44

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