This article presents an analysis of how think tanks of the German New Right have sought to expand the reach of the New Right into far-right electoral politics, specifically those embodied by the Alternative fur Deutschland (AfD) party. Informed by social network analysis and document analysis, the research focuses on the years between 2013 and 2017, the period that saw the foundation of the AfD, its shift to the right toward embracing nationalist-volkisch positions, and its entry into the Bundestag. The data show that only a few New Right think tanks have strongly engaged with the AfD for the purpose of changing ideology, personnel, or policy. Most of these think tanks are well-networked with other actors, such as magazines and campaign groups from the wider far right.
Hartwig Pautz is a Senior Lecturer in Social Sciences at the University of the West of Scotland. His main research interests lie in the relationship between policy, politics, and expertise, and he has published widely on think tanks and social policy. He also has worked on e-democracy and Germany's radical left, and he cooperates closely with Oxfam Scotland.