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Ethnopluralism (or ethno-pluralism), sometimes called ethno-differentialism,[1][2] is a Nouvelle Droite concept which relies on preserving and mutually respecting individual and bordered ethno-cultural regions.[3][4] Among the key components are the "right to difference" and a strong support for cultural diversity at a worldwide rather than at a national level. According to the concept of ethnopluralism, significant foreign cultural elements in one region ought to be culturally assimilated in order to seek cultural homogenization in a given region, letting different cultures thrive in different geographical areas.[5][6]

Proponents describe ethnopluralism as a "world in which many worlds can fit" and an alternative to multiculturalism and globalization, claiming that it strives to keep the world's different cultures alive by embracing their uniqueness and avoiding a one world doctrine in which every region is culturally identical. Critics view the project as a form of "global apartheid".[6]

The idea is closely associated with movements such as the European New Right, the Identitarian movement, and French political theorist Alain de Benoist.[3]


According to ethnomusicologist Benjamin R. Teitelbaum, the term "ethnopluralism" was first coined by German sociologist Henning Eichberg in an essay that was written in opposition to both Western and European eurocentrism.[7]


Ethnopluralism has been proposed by Nouvelle Droite thinkers,[3] and European New Right activists at large, as a mean to facilitate independent ethno-cultural societies.[8] This idea tends to utilize cultural assimilation of foreign cultural norms in order to preserve an ethno-culture's inherent forms and resemblances.[6]

The concept emphasizes the separation of varying ethno-cultural groups, in contrast to cultural integration and intra-cultural diversity. It has been part of the ideological foundation of the European New Right, which has used ethnopluralism to show its favoritism towards the cultural identity of individual groups, thus expressing its opposition to heterogeneity within states.[4] These views on culture, ethnicity and race have become popular among several right-wing and far-right groups in Europe since the 1970s, and has also been covered in some New Left sources like Telos.[5][3]


The difficulty of defining clearly the concept lies in the fact that its proponents can oscillate between an ethnic and a cultural definition of the notion of "difference". Alain de Benoist had for instance supported an ethno-biological perspective in the 1960s,[9][10] and had endorsed South African apartheid in the same decade.[11] He has however gradually adopted a more dual approach in his writings. Inspired by Martin Buber’s philosophy of dialogue and Ich und Du concept, de Benoist defined "identity" as a "dialogical" phenomenon in We and the Others ("Nous et les autres", 2006). According to him, one's identity is made of two components: the "objective part" that comes from one’s background (ethnicity, religion, family, nationality), and the "subjective part", freely chosen by the individual. Identity is therefore a process in constant evolution, rather than an immutable notion.[12] In 1992, he consequently dismissed the Front National use of ethnopluralism, on the grounds that it portrayed "difference as an absolute, whereas, by definition, it exists only relationally."[13][14] Guillaume Faye took the opposite direction. Arguing in 1979 that immigration, rather than immigrants, should be combated in order to preserve cultural and biological "identities" on both sides of the Mediterranean Sea,[15] he later preached "total ethnic war" between "original" Europeans and Muslims in his 2000 book The Colonization of Europe.[16]

Ethnopluralists indeed use the concept of "cultural differentialism" to assert a "right to difference", and propose regional policies of ethnic and racial separatism. But there is no agreement among them upon the definition of group membership, nor where these hypothetical borders would lie. Some of them advocate limiting Europe to "true Europeans", while others propose much smaller divisions, similar to an ethnically-based communitarianism. French Nouvelle Droite philosopher Alain de Benoist claims that indigenous cultures in Europe are being threatened, and that pan-European nationalism based on ethnopluralism would stop this process.[5] He has proposed ethnic and social territories should be as small as possible, such that Muslims would be allowed "ghettos" subordinated to sharia within the European continent.[6]


According to historian Rasmus Fleischer, Jews and Roma are implicitly absent from the ethnopluralist world map because, in the vision of "multi-fascists", both minorities should be "eliminated in order to make room for a peaceful utopia."[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Griffin, Roger; Feldman, Matthew (2004). Fascism: Post-war fascisms. Taylor & Francis. p. 84. ISBN 9780415290203.
  2. ^ Jackson, P.; Shekhovtsov, A. (2014-10-17). The Post-War Anglo-American Far Right: A Special Relationship of Hate. Springer. ISBN 9781137396211.
  3. ^ a b c d Bar-On, Tamir (2001). "The Ambiguities of the Nouvelle Droite, 1968–1999". The European Legacy. 6 (3): 333–351. doi:10.1080/10848770120051349 – via Taylor & Francis.
  4. ^ a b McCulloch, Tom (2006-08-01). "The Nouvelle Droite in the 1980s and 1990s: Ideology and Entryism, the Relationship with the Front National". French Politics. 4 (2): 158–178. doi:10.1057/palgrave.fp.8200099. ISSN 1476-3419.
  5. ^ a b c Spektorowska, Alberto (2003). "The New Right: ethno-regionalism, ethno-pluralism and the emergence of a neo-fascist 'Third Way'". Journal of Political Ideologies. 8: 111–130. doi:10.1080/13569310306084.
  6. ^ a b c d e Deland, Mats; Minkenberg, Michael; Mays, Christin (2014). In the Tracks of Breivik: Far Right Networks in Northern and Eastern Europe. LIT Verlag Münster. p. 58. ISBN 9783643905420. Retrieved 22 December 2017.
  7. ^ Teitelbaum, Benjamin (2013). "Come Hear Our Merry Song:" Shifts in the Sound of Contemporary Swedish Radical Nationalism. Ph.D. Dissertation, Brown University. pages 103-105
  8. ^ Rydgren, Jens (2007). "The Sociology of the Radical Right" (PDF). Annual Review of Sociology. Retrieved 2017-01-29.
  9. ^ Alain de Benoist: "What makes a population move towards greater quality is that valuable men, the elites, can in turn procreate and transmit, according to the laws of heredity, their exceptional abilities and gifts." (Avec ou sans Dieu ?, 1970, p. 88)
  10. ^ Alain de Benoist: "Race is the only real unit encompassing individual variations. The objective study of history shows that only the European race (white race, caucasian) has continued to progress since its appearance on the rising path of the evolution of the living, unlike races stagnant in their development, therefore in virtual regression [...] The European race does not have absolute superiority. It is only the most capable of progressing in the direction of evolution [...] Racial factors being statistically hereditary, each race has its own psychology. All psychology generates value." (Qu'est-ce que le nationalisme?, 1966, pp. 8-9)
  11. ^ Shields, James (2007-05-07). The Extreme Right in France: From Pétain to Le Pen. Routledge. p. 121. ISBN 9781134861118.
  12. ^ Sedgwick, Mark (2019-01-08). Key Thinkers of the Radical Right: Behind the New Threat to Liberal Democracy. Oxford University Press. pp. 75–76. ISBN 9780190877613.
  13. ^ Camus, Jean-Yves; Lebourg, Nicolas (2017-03-20). Far-Right Politics in Europe. Harvard University Press. p. 124. ISBN 9780674971530.
  14. ^ Sharon Waxman, ″Europe's Left And Right Are Too Divided To Even Talk About It″, Chicago Tribune, 13 December 1993. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  15. ^ Camus, Jean-Yves; Lebourg, Nicolas (2017-03-20). Far-Right Politics in Europe. Harvard University Press. p. 124. ISBN 9780674971530.
  16. ^ Bar-On, Tamir (2014). "A Response to Alain de Benoist". Journal for the Study of Radicalism. 8 (2): 141. doi:10.14321/jstudradi.8.2.0123. ISSN 1930-1189. JSTOR 10.14321/jstudradi.8.2.0123.