Making Enemies pp 149-174 | Cite as

Enmity Narratives, Politics, and Peacefulness



Francis Fukuyama’s proclamation of an end to history as we had known it and of the arrival of a politics of markets and democracy was one vibrant swallow in a summer busy with euphorically prophetic birds in the years immediately after 1989.3 The end of the short twentieth century was welcomed by optimists who saw an end to conflicts and the beginning of a politics of peacefulness and conciliation. As the new millennium approached there was, for a short while, little sense of danger. The termination of the Cold War, the collapse of state communism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, the upsurge of democratic and liberal demands by the subjects of imploding despotisms, were all seen as presaging an era of negotiation, co-operation, and civility. Even if history had not come to an end, a politics of grand ideological conflicts and revolutionary confrontations of principles and beliefs was being replaced by tolerance, compromise, and the measured and undogmatic accommodations of democracy and markets, whose intellectual dimension was discussion, negotiation, and the narratives of consultation and compromise. The optimists were not deterred by memories that similar enthusiasms had been expressed almost half a century earlier, when an ‘end of ideology’ was expected to usher in the demise of radicalism and a new age of modest housekeeping and piecemeal social engineering, fixing things only when they were irretrievably broken, and maintaining a scepticism towards grand causes and the political leaders who proclaimed them.


Political Action Mutual Recognition Collective Identity External Threat Hate Speech 
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Copyright information

© Rodney Barker 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The London School of Economics and Political ScienceUK

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