Julia M. Eckert

in The Charisma of Direct Action

Published in print March 2003 | ISBN: 9780195660449
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199082001 | DOI:

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The success of anti-democratic parties in democracies is a paradox. Anti-pluralist movements have been interpreted as expressions of culturally different forms of political organization, of a cultural resistance against the ubiquitous expansion of an ‘alien’ concept like democracy. Others interpret them as the perversion of the liberal democratic system, of the organization of mass bases for competitive politics, and of the homogenizing nation-state in a society marked by diversity. The author contends that specific opportunities of action created within their mode of operation constitute the appeal of such movements. Actionism relies on clear-cut issues, clear-cut confrontations, and clear-cut solutions. Adversarial images are often central to the mode of operation of such movements. The author explores how ‘militant enmity’ keeps the movement going by constructing every potential conflict to be ‘existential’ in nature since it is posited as being irresolvable. The chapter concludes with an overview of the chapters included in the book.

Keywords: anti-democratic parties; democracy; adversarial images; existential conflicts; anti-democratic movements; Shiv Sena; Actionism; Homogenizing nation state; unlimited limits; militant enmity

Chapter.  4713 words. 

Subjects: Indian Politics

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