Inside Contested Cultural Memory

The Alternative für Deutschland in Dresden

in German Politics and Society
Bhakti Deodhar Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay

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This article explores the role played by the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), a German right-wing political party, in the politics of memory in and of Dresden. Based on ethnographic fieldwork among AfD members and observation of the party's organization, the article demonstrates that the performative acts of local AfD members bear crucial significance in explaining the party's attempts to challenge the mainstream memory discourse that is linked to the centrality of the Holocaust. I argue that party members not only draw upon established discursive narratives of Germany's victimhood, but also find ways to skillfully adapt their messages in their efforts to achieve legitimacy. Their performative contestations have enabled the AfD to be both a beneficiary and an instigator of the shifting boundaries of what is considered admissible in Germany's official culture of memorialization.

Contributor Notes

Bhakti Deodhar is a PhD student at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay. She holds a Master's and MPhil in German Studies from the University of Pune, as well as a Master's from the University of Leipzig and the University of Wrocław as part of the Erasmus Mundus Global Studies program. She has previously worked in the academic and charity sectors in the UK and India. Her research interests include German politics, ethnographies of the far right, and social movement studies.

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