Roger Griffin

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Roger Griffin

Roger D. Griffin (born January 31, 1948 ) is British professor of contemporary history at the Faculty of Humanities at Oxford Brookes University in England and is one of the world's most renowned researchers of fascism today.

In his fundamental monograph The Nature of Fascism (1991) he developed a generic concept of fascism and presented a hermeneutic interpretation of the emergence and rise of fascism.

Griffin's concept of fascism

Griffin defined fascism in 1991 as a populist-ultranationalist ideology geared towards a new birth ( palingenesis ): "Fascism is a political ideology whose mythic core in its various permutations is a palingenetic form of populist ultra-nationalism." Richard Thurlow means that with this definition of a "new consensus" ( new consensus could be) in fascism research the question.

Griffin's concept of fascism aims at the core elements of fascist ideology, deliberately excludes peripheral characteristics of individual types of fascism and describes an ideal type . According to Griffin, the “utopian drive” of fascism is to want to solve the supposed “problem of decadence ” through a “radical renewal of the nation” or a national revolution. The nation is understood as an "organic whole" and as the highest principle. The all-encompassing “rebirth” of the nation represents the “mythical core” (understood as the basic idea peculiar to all ideologies, which drives their followers) of the future vision of fascism.

The peculiarity of the theory of fascism Griffins that the works of Juan Linz , Eugen Weber and especially George Mosse , Emilio Gentile , Stanley Payne and Roger Eatwell close stands, lies in the approach, "the center of the myth of national rebirth targeted as ideal type constructed Fascism concept ”(Griffin). What is new about the definition is that Griffin, in contrast to definitions of fascism as anti- liberal , anti-communist , anti-conservative, etc., as for example with Juan Linz and Stanley Payne, defines the concept of fascism in terms of content, i.e. positively .

Since Griffin's definition is geared towards the ideological core of fascism and initially neglects its institutional manifestations, political and social practice as well as individual historical manifestations such as the cult of the leader, paramilitarism, etc., he treats fascism like other political ideologies, i.e. just like liberalism, socialism or conservatism . In this way, according to Griffin, a political phenomenon can be recognized as “fascist” “if it only exists in an embryonic state in the head of an ideologist and without expression in a political party, let alone a mass movement”.

In his definition of fascism, Griffin takes up the self-definitions of fascism, considers its mentality and the cultural aspects of fascism and here highlights the characteristics of fascism:

The three elements of radical nationalism, popularity and pseudo-religious sacredness are of central importance. He primarily refers to the fascist mentality, takes the self-interpretations of the fascists seriously and places the cultural elements at the center of his consideration. In contrast, the institutional structures, the organizational structure, the social basis and the socio-economic functions of fascism are of secondary importance in this definition of fascism. Sven Reichardt (2007)

With his “concise” definition, which, according to Griffins, has not yet passed the “practical test”, the Oxford historian refers to the requirements of various fascism researchers:

In fact, Griffin adopted the formulation of a fascist minimum from Ernst Nolte , the ideal-typical procedure is based on Stanley Payne's definition, the myth of the New Man , typical of fascism, was first formulated by George L. Mosse in 1966 and the reference was made to Palingenesis Emphasized by Emilio Gentile as early as 1975. Sven Reichardt (2007)

Against this background, Sven Reichardt from the Science Center for Social Sciences in Berlin speaks less of a “new consensus” than of a “convergence thesis” when defining Grisons. Reichardt summarizes the criticism (which is primarily formulated by German and Marxist researchers) of Griffin's definition, which, despite this convergence, proves to be less than "sustainable":

Despite this embedding in diverse research traditions, some weighty doubts have arisen as to the validity of Griffin's definition. The overemphasis on the only vaguely defined “national rebirth” reduces fascism to a form of political religion, whereby it remains to be explained why, despite this claim, fascism did not want to replace the church, but mostly cooperated closely with it. Second, the attempt to define fascism as palingenetic and populist radical nationalism remains too unspecific and lacks the exclusive, mostly racist quality of fascism. But the elements of violence and coercion were among the central defining features of fascism. Griffin's approach, primarily based on the history of ideology, ultimately falls short and excludes important features such as mass appeal, charismatic leadership, corporatism or economic driving forces. Sven Reichardt (2007)


  • The Nature of Fascism . Pinter, London 1991; again Routledge , London 1993
  • Ed. Fascism . Oxford University Press , New York 1995
  • Ed. International Fascism: Theories, Causes, and the New Consensus . Arnold, London 1998
  • Ed. (With Matthew Feldman): Fascism . 5 vols. Routledge, London 2004
  • Ed. Fascism, Totalitarianism and Political Religion . Routledge, London 2005
  • Ed. (With Werner Loh, Andreas Umland ): Fascism Past and Present, West and East . Ibidem, Stuttgart 2006
  • Fascism's new faces (and new facelessness) in the "post-fascist" period. In: Considering - Knowledge - Ethics , Vol. 15, No. 3, 2004, pp. 287-300 (main article by Fascism Past and Present, West and East )
  • Modernism and Fascism: The Sense of a Beginning under Mussolini and Hitler . Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke 2007
  • A Fascist Century. Essays. Ed. Matthew Feldman. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke 2008, ISBN 0-230-20518-6
  • "Lingua Quarti Imperii". The euphemistic tradition of the extreme right, in Doublespeak. The rhetoric of the far right since 1945. Series: Explorations of the far right, 3rd ed. Matthew Feldman, Paul Jackson . Ibidem, Stuttgart 2014, ISBN 978-3-8382-0554-0 , pp. 39-61
  • Fixing Solutions: Fascist Temporalities as Remedies for Liquid Modernity . In: Journal of Modern European History 13 (2015), Issue 1, 15–23. (Introduction to a forum on Fascist Temporalities )

Other relevant anthologies

  • Werner Loh and Wolfgang Wippermann, ed .: “Faschismus” - controversial . Stuttgart: Lucius & Lucius, 2002
  • Cyprian Blamires, Ed .: World Fascism. A Historical Encyclopedia . 2 vols. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2006

Contributions in German

  • Fascism in Europe. In: ZAG: Journal of anti-racist groups , No. 16, 1995, pp. 43–45
  • Völkisch nationalism as a pioneer and continuer of fascism: An Anglo-Saxon view of a not only German phenomenon. In: Heiko Kauffmann, Helmut Kellershohn , Jobst Paul Ed .: Völkische Bande. Decadence and Rebirth - Analyzes of Right Ideology . Unrast, Münster 2005, ISBN 3-89771-737-9


  • Sven Reichardt : New ways of comparative research on fascism. In: Mittelweg 36 . Born in 2007, No. 1.
  • Emilio Gentile: Fascismo . In: Enciclopedia Italiana di Scienze. Lettere ed Arti. Rome 1992, pp. 196-199.
  • Richard Thurlow: Fascism. Cambridge 1999, pp. 5f.
  • Walter Laqueur : Fascism. Yesterday Today Tomorrow. Berlin 1996, p. 19.
  • Roger O. Paxton: The Anatomy of Fascism. New York 2004, p. 21.
  • Michael Mann: Fascists. Cambridge 2004, p. 12f.
  • Andreas Umland: Concepts of Fascism in Contemporary Russia and the West . In: Political Studies Review , 3rd vol., 2005, No. 1, pp. 34–49.

Web links

In German language

  • Roger Griffin: The Controversial Concept of Fascism (Interview). In: DISS-Journal , No. 13, 2004, pp. 10-13 ( online );

In English

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Stanley Payne: "Most important new scholar" of fascism research. Cf. Sven Reichardt : New ways of comparative research on fascism. Mittelweg 36 1/2007. Stanley Payne to R. Griffin: Stanley Payne: Historical Fascism and the Radical Right. In: JCH 35, 2000, pp. 109-118, p. 110; Stanley Payne: History of Fascism. Rise and Fall of a European Movement, Berlin 2001, p. 559 (A History of Fascism, 1995).
    Emilio Gentile sees Griffin's “concise definition” of fascism an “influential contribution”. See: Emilio Gentile, “Fascismo”. In: Enciclopedia Italiana di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti. Rome 1992, pp. 196–199 and Emilio Gentile, Fascismo. Storia e interpretazione, Rom / Bari 2002
    Cf. also: Ian Kershaw : The Essence of Nazism. Form of fascism, brand of totalitarianism, or unique phenomenon? , in: Roger Griffin (Ed.), Fascism. Critical Concepts in Political Science, Vol. IV, London / New York 2004.
  2. Griffin: The Nature of Fascism , London 1993, p. 26
  3. ^ Richard Thurlow, Fascism. Cambridge 1999, pp. 5f
  4. On progress in comparative research on fascism see also: Aristotle Kallis, Fascist ideology. Territory and Expansionism in Italy and Germany, 1922-1945. London / New York 2000.
  5. Cf. Roger Griffin (2005): Völkischer Nationalismus as a trailblazer and continuer of fascism: An Anglo-Saxon view of a not only German phenomenon. In: Heiko Kauffmann, Helmut Kellershohn and Jobst Paul, ed .: Völkische Bande. Decadence and Rebirth - Analyzes of Right Ideology .
  6. a b Roger Griffin (2005): Völkischer Nationalismus as a pioneer and continuer of fascism: An Anglo-Saxon view of a not only German phenomenon. In: Heiko Kauffmann, Helmut Kellershohn and Jobst Paul, ed .: Völkische Bande. Decadence and Rebirth - Analyzes of Right Ideology . See also (Introduction: Online [1] )
  7. a b c d e Sven Reichardt (2007): New ways of comparative research on fascism. Mittelweg 36 1/2007.
  8. ^ Emilio Gentile 2002
  9. Meant are (a): Ernst Nolte: Fascism in its epoch. Action française, Italian fascism, National Socialism. Munich and Zurich 1990
    (b): Stanley Payne: Fascism. Comparison and Definition. Madison 1980.
    (c): George L. Mosse: The Genesis of Fascism. In: JCH 1, 1966.
    (d): Emilio Gentile: Le origini dell'ideologia fascista. Bari 1975.
  10. Sven Reichardt is the author of the work: Faschistische Kampfbünde. Violence and community in Italian squadrism and in the German SA . Böhlau Verlag, Cologne 2002, ISBN 3-412-13101-6