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Working Across Bounded Entities: Fascism, ‘Para-Fascism’, and Ideational Mobilities in Interwar Europe




Fascism has always challenged, transcended, and redefined bounded entities. Its histories were also forged in and through permanent movement—geographic and ideological alike. Mobility—a fascinating kaleidoscope of complex flows, diffusion, translation, and reflexive adaptations—remains a supremely promising framework for the study of fascism, fitting its conceptual syncretism and protean nature. If we accept that interwar fascism was a phenomenon with international reach driven, then our models of interpretations must accommodate these local interpretations and adaptations as integral parts of the history of fascism. In this essay, I focus on the concept of ‘para-fascism’ that Griffin provocatively coined in an attempt to re-establish a conceptual dialogue between fascism and its supposed conceptual peripheries. With ‘para-fascism’, Griffin did more than any other scholar of fascism to bring into the fold of comparative fascism studies a range of radical movements and especially authoritarian regimes in the 1920s/1930s that were heavily influenced by the emerging political paradigm of ‘fascism’ but lacked a clear revolutionary orientation. I argue that these not-quite-fascists did arguably more to facilitate the appeal and political diffusion of ‘fascism’ as the supposedly pure regime examples of Fascist Italy and National Socialist Germany.

Publication Date Nov 12, 2020
Pages 73-79
Book Title Beyond the Fascist Century
ISBN 978-3-030-46830-9
Keywords Mobility, Ideology, Para-fascism, Dictatorship, Revolution, Hybridity
Publisher URL