While Western Europe is widely considered to be the most secularized region of the world, Jose Pedro Zuquette asserts that, in certain cases, intense religion has manifested itself outside the church through political channels. The sacralization of politics is commonly studied in terms of movements and regimes of the past. Offering an innovative political analysis, Zuquette focuses on contemporary movements, developing the term “missionary politics”. The author focuses on Umberto Bossi’s Northern League in Italy and Jean-Marie Le Pen’s National Front in France, assessing the literature, rhetoric, imagery, and patterns of charismatic control of these movements. Drawing upon interviews, extensive fieldwork, and abundant primary sources, Zuquette identifies the ways in which these political movements provide members with a sense that the nation is sacred and that its people have been divinely chosen.
José Pedro Zúquete is a postdoctoral fellow at the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies at Harvard University. He has written on modernism, fascism, and contemporary populist movements in both Europe and Latin America, and, more recently, on opposition to globalization.