1st Edition

Imagining Alternative Worlds Far-Right Fiction and the Power of Cultural Imaginaries

    246 Pages
    by Routledge

    246 Pages
    by Routledge

    Imagining Alternative Worlds explores how the far right employs fictionality as a powerful political tool in the 21st century.

    It does so by examining the far-right's own cultural commentary through a large collection of its novels, novellas, short stories, and film reviews, illustrating how the ‘alternative worlds’ articulated in such cultural products convey its ideology. More specifically, the book identifies and analyses four distinct far-right 'cultural imaginaries' – a ‘primordial’, a ‘nostalgic’, a ‘promethean’ and a ‘nihilist’ one – that each subtly convey different yet linked ideas about space, time, ‘race’, gender and heroic identity. By thereby drawing attention to the ‘cultural heterogeneity’ of the contemporary far right, Imagining Alternative Worlds offers key insights into the dreams, identities and norms such actors hope will define our future.

    The book will be of interest to researchers of the far right, of literary, media and communication studies, and of social and cultural history.

    1. Introduction: Literature, Movie Reviews and the Cultural Imaginaries of the Far Right  2. Worlds Apart: Safe Spaces, Non-Places and Beyond  3. Right on Time: Temporality, History and Change  4. Skin in the Game: Racism Suffered and Imposed  5. Significant Others: Women, Sex and Gender  6. Manning Up: Heroic Agency and Political Utopia  7. Concluding Remarks: Cultural Imaginaries and Far-right Subjectivities  Appendix 1: Far-right Novels  Appendix 2: Far-right Movie Reviews


    Christoffer Kølvraa is Associate Professor at the School of Culture and Society, Aarhus University, Denmark. His research focuses on right-wing discourses and voices in Europe and the US, especially their affective performativity through provocation and ‘playfulness’.

    Bernhard Forchtner is Associate Professor at the School of Arts, Media and Communication, University of Leicester, United Kingdom. His research focusses on European far-right parties and movements, especially their narrative self-construction and their discourses about environmental issues.

    ‘Few monographs map out virtually unexplored terrain; fewer still do it with the thoroughness and panache of Imagining Alternative Worlds. Kølvraa and Forchtner’s study of the far-right’s often-violent “cultural imaginaries” in film reviews and, in particular, prose fiction, is essential reading for all those interested in how right-wing extremists can attract followers – beyond stale political rallies, turgid tracts and superficial memes - through what one far-right writer called the ‘psychic impact’ of ‘lusty imagination’. Different fictional genres – from the historicised, futuristic, or pastoral to the apocalyptic and much in-between – are deftly examined here with sensitive focus upon racism, gender, far-right utopias and more. As ground-breaking as it gets in this field, this book demands, and will truly reward, a wide readership.’

    Matthew Feldman, Emeritus Professor in the Modern History of Ideas

    ‘This excellent new study examines the wide variety of fictive texts developed by the far right and importantly takes them seriously as cultural artefacts that sketch out core ideological themes. Drawing out the powerful, affective dimensions found in these works, Imagining Alternative Worlds expertly traces the contours of such fictions and explores their ability to re-imagine the past, present and future in ways that imbue potent political meaning to extreme activism. This is an essential book for anyone who wants to understand the inner workings of far-right culture.’

    Paul Jackson, Professor in the History of Radicalism & Extremism, University of Northampton

    ‘This innovative book makes a significant and overdue intervention into studies of the far-right with its focus on fiction and reviews of mainstream popular culture. Revealing the heterogeneous yet interconnected “ideal” worlds and subjectivities constructed by the contemporary globalised far-right, it demonstrates an urgent need for attention to cultural imaginaries. The book is a must read for researchers who want to gain a deeper understanding of the nature and power of far-right cultures.’

    Helen Young, Senior Research Fellow in Literary Studies, Deakin University