The global phenomenon of far-right nationalism is being fueled by existential terror — Quartz

A string of terror attacks across the globe have shaken the world’s most powerful nations to their core. As a result of these tragic events, and the fear-mongering from politicians hoping to exploit them, many feel that an existential threat is nigh. To make matters worse, a highly influential and experimentally verified theory from social…

via The global phenomenon of far-right nationalism is being fueled by existential terror — Quartz

A string of terror attacks across the globe have shaken the world’s most powerful nations to their core. As a result of these tragic events, and the fear-mongering from politicians hoping to exploit them, many feel that an existential threat is nigh.

To make matters worse, a highly influential and experimentally verified theory from social psychology predicts that, as long as an existential threat looms, the world will grow ever more divided and increasingly hostile. Terror management theory (TMT) explains how and why events that conjure up thoughts about death cause people to cling more strongly to their cultural worldviews—siding with those who share their national, ethnic or political identity, while aggressively opposing those who do not.

Consequently, sharp increases in deadly terror attacks around the world serve to create a sweeping psychological condition that sets the stage for waves of far-right nationalist movements that encourage prejudice, intolerance and hostility toward dissimilar others.

 Events that conjure up thoughts about death cause people to cling more strongly to their cultural worldviews. Europe’s nationalist surge, Brexit in the United Kingdom and the presidency win for Donald Trump in the United States are just the most recent demonstrations of TMT, first proposed by social psychologists in the 1980s and derived from cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning work of philosophy and psychology, The Denial of Death (1973).

Continued reading at http://qz.com/840212/the-global-phenomenon-of-far-right-nationalism-is-being-fueled-by-existential-terror/

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