This paper seeks to explore the dynamics of contemporary authoritarian populism from a historical perspective, relying on the approaches of Durkheim’s experimental sociology and Levinas’s ethical phenomenology. By reading the works of these two thinkers in concert, a pathology is exposed within this particular form of politics in that the State must necessarily close itself off to the critique of exteriority. Our reading of Durkheim explores the social pathology of nationalism while our reading of Levinas demonstrates the philosophical dimension of this pathology as the inevitable outcome of any philosophical thinking which privileges ontology above all else. The way these thinkers address these themes can serve as a guide as we attempt to overcome the same pathology today in various forms of authoritarian populism that adopt the same mentalities and methods utilized by past forms of this corrupted idealism.
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Eland, C. J. and de Pontes, Nicole L. M. T.
"Social Solidarity and the Ontological Foundations of Exclusionary Nationalism: Durkheim and Levinas on the Historical Manifestations of Authoritarian Populism,"
disClosure: A Journal of Social Theory: Vol. 29
, Article 6.
Available at: https://uknowledge.uky.edu/disclosure/vol29/iss1/6