For a European political space

by Nadia Urbinati

21 Feb 2020
Journal of the British Academy
6 (pp. 13-17)

Abstract: European nationalists capitalise on the socio-economic dissatisfaction of their citizens when they claim that open borders are the main cause of the decline in job opportunities and the wellbeing of the middle class. Their rhetoric ‘against’ migrants puts their adversaries in the position of needing to propose solutions, of mobilising ‘for’. The challenge is demanding, but cannot be evaded. This paper argues that redirecting the debate on the problem of social regression is essential in order to deflate the obsessive talk on immigration; because it is precisely the fostering of this obsession by xenophobic nationalists that galvanises audiences.

Keywords: anti-immigration rhetoric, European Union, right-wing nationalism, sovereignism.

Article posted to Journal of the British Academy, volume 8,
supplementary issue 1 (A Mediterranean Perspective on European Union and Disunion).

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