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Whiteness, multiculturalism and nationalist appropriation of Celtic culture: the case of the League of the South and the Lega Nord

[journal article]

Hague, Euan; Giordano, Benito; Sebesta, Edward H.

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Abstract The League of the South (USA) and Lega Nord (Italy), formed in 1994 and 1991 respectively, are nationalist organizations that have utilized claims to Celtic ethnicity to further their appeal. In this article we explore these claims, made in relation to the southern United States and northern Italy, and argue that they are used by these organizations to justify exclusionary politics. By claiming a privileged status for Celtic culture, heritage and genealogy, the League of the South and Lega Nord envision their putative nation-states as accommodating other ethnic groups in subordinate roles. We argue that claiming Celtic ethnicity is an implicit appeal to white privilege. In the proposed nation-states of the Confederate States of America and Padania, white authority would be sustained. Further, the way these groups use Celticness allows them to make links to specific historical and material geographies. Claiming Celtic origins enables northern Italians to distinguish themselves from southern Italians, and to make an associated historical-geographical connection between themselves and northern Europe, enabling disassociation from the Mediterranean. The League of the South claim to ‘Anglo-Celtic’ ethnicity enables their membership to distinguish themselves from other residents of the United States, be these non-white residents of the southern states or other white people within the USA. Finally, we suggest that some dominant political commitments to multiculturalism facilitate precisely such claims to Celtic origins, however tenuous, to be made in the name of recognizing and protecting cultural difference.
Document language English
Publication Year 2005
Page/Pages p. 151-173
Journal Cultural Geographies, 12 (2005) 2
Status Postprint; peer reviewed
Licence PEER Licence Agreement (applicable only to documents from PEER project)