Rethinking "Nativism": Beyond the ideational approach

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Existing ideational approaches to nativism tend to conflate the concept with nationalism, xenophobia and populism, as well as overlooking the role of racism and racialisation in the process of constructing the non-native ‘out-group’, against the native ‘in-group’. Inspired by the Discourse Theoretical approach to populism, this article offers a significant conceptual contribution to studies on the far right by interpreting nativism as a racist and xenophobic discourse structured around an exclusionary vision of the nation. This conceptualisation helps identify how xenophobia, nationalism, racism and racialisation all contribute to nativist discourse, how nativism can be clearly demarcated from populism, and how nativist arguments can be articulated by parties beyond the far right.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-180
JournalIdentities > Global Studies in Culture and Power
Issue number2
Early online date18 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2023


  • Discourse Theory
  • Nationalism
  • Nativism
  • Populism
  • Racism
  • Xenophobia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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