ⓘ Ethnopluralism, sometimes called ethno-differentialism, is a Nouvelle Droite concept which relies on preserving and mutually respecting individual and bordered ..


ⓘ Ethnopluralism

Ethnopluralism, sometimes called ethno-differentialism, is a Nouvelle Droite concept which relies on preserving and mutually respecting individual and bordered ethno-cultural regions. A key component being the "right to difference" and strong support for cultural diversity. Proponents describe it as an alternative to multiculturalism and globalization, claiming that it strives to keep the worlds different cultures alive by embracing their uniqueness and avoiding a one world doctrine in which every region is culturally identical. According to the concept of ethnopluralism significant foreign cultural elements in one region ought to be culturally assimilated leading to a cultural homogenization in the given region, the idea being many different cultures in different geographical areas.

The idea is closely associated with movements such as the European New Right, the Identitarian movement, and French political theorist Alain de Benoist.


1. Origin

According to ethnomusicologist Benjamin R. Teitelbaum, the term "ethnopluralism" was first coined by German sociologist Henning Eichberg in an essay that was written in opposition to both Western and European eurocentrism.


2. Concept

Ethnopluralism has been proposed by Nouvelle Droite thinkers, and European New Right activists at large, as a mean to facilitate independent ethno-cultural societies. This idea tends to utilize cultural assimilation of foreign cultural norms in order to preserve an ethno-cultures inherent forms and resemblances.

The concept emphasizes the separation of varying ethno-cultural groups, in contrast to cultural integration and intra-cultural diversity. It has been part of the ideological foundation of the European New Right, which has used ethnopluralism to show its favoritism towards the cultural identity of individual groups, thus expressing its opposition to heterogeneity within states. These views on culture, ethnicity and race have become popular among several right-wing and far-right groups in Europe since the 1970s, and has also been covered in some New Left sources like Telos.


2.1. Concept Plasticity

The difficulty of defining clearly the concept lies in the fact that its proponents can oscillate between an ethnic and a cultural definition of the notion of "difference". Alain de Benoist had for instance adopted an ethno-biological perspective in the 1960s, and had endorsing apartheid in the same decade. He has however gradually adopted a more dual approach in his writings. Inspired by Martin Buber’s philosophy of dialogue and Ich und Du concept, de Benoist defined "identity" as a "dialogical" phenomenon in We and the Others "Nous et les autres", 2006. According to him, ones identity is made of two components: the "objective part" that comes from one’s background, and the "subjective part", freely chosen by the individual. Identity is therefore a process in constant evolution, rather than completely a fixed notion. In 1992, he consequently dismissed the Front National use of ethnopluralism, on the grounds that it portrayed "difference as an absolute, whereas, by definition, it exists only relationally." Guillaume Faye took the opposite direction. Arguing in 1979 that immigration, rather than immigrants, should be combated, in order to preserve both the cultural and biological "identities" on both sides of the Mediterranean, he later preached "total ethnic war" between "original" Europeans and Muslims in his 2000 book The Colonization of Europe.

Ethnopluralists indeed use the concept of "cultural differentialism" to assert a "right to difference", and propose regional policies of ethnic and racial separatism. But there is no agreement among them upon the definition of group membership, nor where these hypothetical borders would lie. Some of them advocate limiting Europe to "true Europeans", while others propose much smaller divisions, similar to an ethnically-based communitarianism. French Nouvelle Droite philosopher Alain de Benoist claims that indigenous cultures in Europe are being threatened, and that pan-European nationalism based on ethnopluralism would stop this process. De Benoist has proposed ethnic and social territories should be as small as possible, such that Muslims would be allowed "ghettos" subordinated to sharia in Europe.

According to historian Rasmus Fleischer, Jews and Roma are implicitly absent from the ethnopluralist world map because, in the vision of "multi-fascists", both minorities should be "eliminated in order to make room for a peaceful utopia." Proponents of the concept describe it as a "world in which many worlds can fit", while critics view the project as a form of "global apartheid".