Why have atavistic political ideologies taken hold in the most technologically advanced societies? Please join us on February 6, 2024 at 4:00pm as Professor Beth Rabinowitz, Associate Professor, Political Science, Rutgers University – Camden, will discuss her recent book, Defensive Nationalism: Explaining the Rise of Populism and Fascism in the 21st Century, and the powerful thesis that the irrationalism and hatred that marked the early 20th century has resurged in the 21st. In turn, our response to violent instability and fracture requires a clear-eyed understanding of the explosive politics of both eras.
Moderated by Steven K. Vogel, Director of the Political Economy Program, the Il Han New Professor of Asian Studies, and a Professor of Political Science and Political Economy at UC Berkeley.
Presented by the Berkeley Economy & Society Initiative (BESI).
About The Book
Why have atavistic political ideologies taken hold in the most technologically advanced societies? In her new book, Defensive Nationalism, Beth Rabinowitz argues that the irrationalism and hatred that marked the early 20th is recurring in the 21st centuries, and for the same reasons.
Combining Karl Polanyi’s concept of the “double movement” with Joseph Schumpeter’s theory of innovation, the book traces how the explosive politics of both eras stem from the very technological changes that brought humankind to its highest levels of sophistication. In the mid-19th century, it was railroads, steam ships, automated printing presses, and telegraphy; in the mid-20th century, turbo jets, container ships, satellites, and computers. These magical modern innovations seemed to hold the promise of global peace and prosperity. But the mid-century liberal trust in international cooperation was quickly eclipsed by something much darker. The new economies of speed and scale created by the Industrial and Digital Revolutions dislodged the moorings of societies. Countries were made vulnerable to global economic crises, existing systems of production were uprooted, mass migrations accelerated, and uniquely modern forms of mass media threatened the social and political order. These same changes also produced never-before-seen modes of international terrorism—anarchist bombings and assassinations in the late-eighteen hundreds, and Islamist suicide bombings and beheadings in the late-nineteen hundreds. Political actors were able to capitalize on the growing disorientation and fear. Nations began to turn inward as left-wing populist and right-wing proto-fascist movements took hold across the United States and Europe. An era of “defensive nationalism” had commenced.