Mobilizing Meanings

Translocal Identities of the Far Right Web

in German Politics and Society
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  • 1 Modern Languages and Literatures, University of Nebraska psimpson4@unl.edu
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Abstract

Europe has witnessed the rise of a multigenerational, populist shift to the right, characterized by the unapologetic deployment of extremist symbols, ideologies, and politics, but also by repudiations of right-wing labels associated with racism, xenophobia, and nativist entitlements. The political lexicon of far-right rhetoric derives its considerable persuasive force from mobilizing and normalizing extremist views. This article examines the intricately and translocally woven connections among representative movements, organizations, and media personalities who popularize and disseminate far-right views through social media and their own internet websites. With diatribes about the threat against Russia, the uncontainable and intolerable influx of refugees and asylum seekers, whom they blame for terrorist attacks, deteriorating family values, the loss of national German identity, and the antidemocratic politics of Chancellor Angela Merkel, the cadre of self-credentializing experts and politicians, some in alignment with Pegida, mobilize historical moments and meanings to make connections with a broad spectrum of supporters.

Contributor Notes

Patricia Anne Simpson is Chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, where she is also Professor of German. Her monograph, Reimagining the European Family: Cultures of Immigration (New York, 2013), examines the effects of recent patterns of immigration on the representation of the family in Europe. Author of Cultures of Violence in the New German Street (Lanham, 2012) and The Erotics of War in German Romanticism (Lewisburg, 2006), Simpson has also co-edited several volumes on literature, religion, and visual cultures in the Age of Goethe. With Helga Druxes, she co-edited the interdisciplinary volume Digital Media Strategies of the Far Right in Europe and the United States (Lanham, 2015). The recipient of numerous grants as well as research and teaching awards, Simpson is currently completing a book-length study about the play world and childhood in transatlantic modernity.

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