postmedieval: a journal of medieval cultural studies (2014) 5, 308–319. doi:10.1057/pmed.2014.19

Defending the West: Cultural racism and Pan-Europeanism on the far-right

Daniel Wollenberga

aDepartment of English, University of Tampa, FL



Using terrorist Anders Behring Breivik’s manifesto as a barometer of right and far-right political rhetoric of the last two decades, this essay argues that two core ideas of Breivik’s manifesto reveal larger shifts in post-Holocaust racist discourse: first, that in a post-Holocaust world in which explicit biological racism is becoming more rare, Breivik and other figures on the contemporary European far-right have spotlighted a common Western identity, rooted in and bolstered by medieval imagery and rhetoric, as the chief quality marking the West as historically and culturally unique; second, that the ‘clash of civilizations’ theory of Lewis and Huntington has permeated far-right anti-immigration discourse.

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