Event Date: 15 – 17 May 2019
Richmond University – The American University in London
Richmond TW10 6JP
A Century of Radical Right Extremism: New Approaches
Professor Dominic Alessio and Dr Robert Wallis (Richmond University) – The Appropriation of Norse Religion by the New Right
Populist, nationalist politics are on the rise in Europe and America. Historically such movements as National Socialism in the late 1930s co-opted Norse Religion, drawing on the nineteenth-century völkisch movement, entangling problematic concepts of ‘folk’ or race (the purity of Aryan blood) and nationhood (the holy German soil) with pagan religion and occult themes. In Britain and the US today, these themes of blood and soil have been reprised in Far Right movements which appropriate Norse mythology and other elements of pagan religions into their political ideologies. The Asatru Folk Assembly and Wotansvolk in the USA, for example, have received substantial scholarly attention. In this paper, we examine specific cases of New Right Asatru in Britain, such as The Odinic Rite and Woden’s Folk, and their connections with extremist politics. Having engaged critically with the way in which these groups co-opt Germanic paganism, we then examine the tension between these ethnicist, ‘folkish’ groups and the more prevalent universalist, a-racial Asatru groups who tend to ascribe to the broader liberal political values of wider society and who are equally concerned by the appropriation of Norse religion by the New Right.