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Title: Sacred island or world empire : locating far-right movements in and beyond Malta
Authors: Falzon, Mark Anthony
Keywords: Xenophobia -- Malta
Immigrants -- Cultural assimilation -- Malta
Right-wing extremists -- Malta
Issue Date: 2008-12
Publisher: Routledge
Citation: Falzon, M. A. (2008). Sacred island or world empire : locating far-right movements in and beyond Malta. Journal of Contemporary European Studies, 16(3), 393-406.
Abstract: The paper is structured in four sections. First, we trace the rise of the far right in contemporary Malta and describe its more prominent manifestations. Second, we construct a localistic and ‘exceptionalist’ analytical framework which emphasizes a particular and insular local political- cultural context; in this first sense Maltese far right movements can be understood partly as a deep rooted response to a historical pathos of identity and nationhood, partly as straightforward xenophobia triggered by irregular migration. We then move on in the third section to look at the ways in which the far right in Malta is linked to and interacts with similar groups elsewhere in Europe. Two processes emerge as being of crucial importance. First, the entrepreneurship of transnationally well- connected mobile individuals; second, the burgeoning in recent years of the Internet and transnational cyber-communities. Seen in this light, the far right in contemporary Malta is, to paraphrase James Clifford, both ‘rooted’ in local social processes and at the same time ‘routed’ via transnational exchanges. Our paper argues that one way of resolving this apparent contradiction is to think of the far right as a loose ‘global’ collection of tropes and ideas which, as a result of specific situations, are embedded—selectively and usually unsuccessfully, and typically by transnational cultural entrepreneurs and self-proclaimed ‘elite’ individuals—in local histories and narratives of identity.
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