T. Parsons on Fascist Movements: Lessons of Classic and the Contemporary Moment.

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 10:50
Oral Presentation
Olga SIMONOVA, National Research University - Higher School of economics, Russian Federation
A small work written by Parsons more than 50 years ago about sociological aspects pod fascists movements (Parsons, 1954) becomes actual and topical at the moment. There is reason to believe that today there are also conditions for the success of radical movements, and not only in Russia, but elsewhere in the world.
In this paper Parsons tries to explain the success of fascist movements in Western Europe in the first third of the twentieth century, describing the rational and irrational aspects of the movements. Parsons explains the strong commitment of masses and elite groups to these movements by the combination of reactions to the development of industrial capitalism (and its consequences in the form of anomie, weakening traditions, exploitation, alienation and rationalization) and simultaneously to leftist movements, which led to the protection of the traditionalist and conservative political course, based on ideology of national superiority and hatred of others. Emotional reactions are also important here, which are often not always realized: fascist movements evoked a strong affective commitment, which is explained by the desire of ordinary people and elites to gain security, a normative support and a clear world image.

Parsons' analysis allows us to conduct many analogies with the modern world. The protection of the interests of capitalism and democracy can also be carried out in radical ways in modern risk societies. The uncertainty of the modern world and the resistance to globalization and westernization can generate strong conservative sentiments and, accordingly, new social associations, actionism, protests, social movements, based on the aspiration of the masses and elites to maintain social order in radical ways. Such sentiments and associations can arouse hatred not as an acute short feeling, but as a prolonged background mood, which can become quite strong in the pursuit of gaining social order and security.