Two Paradigmatic Views on Right-Wing Populism in East Germany

in German Politics and Society
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  • 1 Political Science, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, Germany
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In German public perceptions, right-wing populism is cast as a specifically east German problem. This article critically examines how this assumption is located within the debate on German unity. In order to clarify the sometimes-confusing arguments on German unification, two paradigmatic perspectives can be identified: German unity can be approached from a perspective of modernization, or through the lens of postcolonial critique. When it comes to right-wing populism in eastern Germany, the modernization paradigm suffers from a lack of understanding. Hence, the arguments of the postcolonial perspective must be taken seriously, particularly as the postcolonial reading can grasp the complex phenomenon of right-wing populism in east Germany, and prevent the discursive and geographic space of the region from being conquered by right-wing political actors.

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