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Not a Single-Digit Party Anymore

The Central Role of Alliance 90/The Greens in a Changed Party System

Niko Switek

Abstract

In the 2021 German federal election, Alliance 90/The Greens received its best result so far. The outcome was based in part on a popular party leadership, government participation in different coalition formats on the state level, and an increasing salience of environmental and climate policies with which the party is strongly associated. After the election, the Greens became part of a novel three-party coalition with Social Democrats and Liberals where the party finds itself in a more influential role than in its first federal coalition with the spd. The opinion polls placing Alliance 90/The Greens above 20 percent before the election and its continuously growing membership base indicate a new centrality of the party in the German party system, as well as the potential to further increase its vote share.

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The Party without Qualities?

Explaining the Left Party's Electoral Disaster in the 2021 German Federal Election

Jonathan Olsen and Michael A. Hansen

Abstract

In the 2021 German federal election, the Left Party suffered its worst electoral defeat ever. Although it hemorrhaged voters to all the parties, its losses to the Social Democrats and Greens were particularly large. In this article, we examine the reasons behind Die Linke's poor electoral performance. Although a number of factors may have played small roles, we hypothesize that the most important by far was the Left Party's failure to distinguish itself in its policy positions from its chief rivals on the center left and the left. Using data from the Comparative Manifesto Project (cpm) and Chapel Hill Expert Survey (ches), we demonstrate the Left Party's lack of issue ownership and its distinct policy and ideological profile in 2021. Consequently, we argue that Die Linke gave voters few reasons to vote for it.

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Setting a Trend?

Support for the Greens and the FDP in the 2021 Bundestag Election

Andreas M. Wüst

Abstract

The 2021 Bundestag election brought an end to the model of grand coalitions that Germany had witnessed in 12 out of the 16 years of Angela Merkel's chancellorship. While older voters often switched from the Christian Democrats to the Social Democrats, young voters might have set a trend in 2021 by voting for non-governing parties, allowing the Greens and the fdp to enter the new government. Have we witnessed more than a situational switch from the Volksparteien to a new yellow-green alliance, maybe even the rise of a generational cleavage? This article provides empirical evidence for dissatisfaction with the grand coalition government and the quest for change among young voters—a fight against climate change combined with state-centered social policies among Green voters, and a broad liberal program for progress among fdp voters. Yet the reasons that young people support these parties differ significantly. Thus, it is thin empirical ice to associate the yellow-green boost among young voters with a new generational cleavage.

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What Do (Parties Think) Women and LGBTI Citizens Want?

Party Platforms, Gender, and Sexuality in the 2021 German Federal Election

Louise K. Davidson-Schmich

Abstract

In this article I document the main German parties’ 2021 election platforms regarding gender and sexuality. These manifestos contained considerably different portrayals of gendered inequalities in the Federal Republic, preferred diverse roles for the state in ameliorating gendered inequalities, and called for state action in distinct spheres. Parties also generally viewed “women” and “lgbti” people as homogeneous entities rather than intersectional groups. I conclude by discussing how the differences among the Social Democrats, Greens, and Free Democrats were reconciled in the 2021 coalition agreement. The “traffic light” proposals for achieving gender equality differ starkly from the platforms of the Christian Democrats and the Alternative for Germany.

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Between Science and Utopia

Physical and Astronomical Notions within French and Polish Fourierism

Piotr Kuligowski and Quentin Schwanck

Abstract

This article investigates the role of physical and astronomical notions in the formation process of transnational political ideologies. It does so by focusing on the striking example of nineteenth-century early socialist movements, particularly Fourierism. Indeed, Fourier's bold cosmogony enabled him to connect many fields of knowledge, and soon became a powerful vehicle for his ideas on the international scale. The article likewise analyses the ideological process through which Fourierist astronomical conceptions were adopted by foreign socialists, focusing on examples of Polish thinkers such as Jan Czyński and Stanisław Bratkowski who, in drawing on Fourierist ideas and usage of scientific terms, tried to embed his vocabulary in the ongoing nineteenth-century debates about Polish history and, more generally, the burning issue of the independence of the Polish state. Our comparative analysis highlights the contextual influences which contributed to re-shaping such ideas within a new absorbing context.

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Book Reviews

Margaret Andersen, Patricia M. E. Lorcin, Emily Lord Fransee, and Antoinette Burton

Nimisha Barton, Reproductive Citizens: Gender, Immigration, and the State in Modern France, 1880–1945 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2020).

Ian Coller, Muslims and Citizens: Islam, Politics and the French Revolution (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2020).

Annette K. Joseph-Gabriel, Reimagining Liberation: How Black Women Transformed Citizenship in the French Empire (Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2019).

Françoise Vergès, The Wombs of Women: Race, Capital, Feminism. Translated and with an introduction by Kaiama L. Glover (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2020).

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Continuing Formalization of Coalition Formation with a New “Sound”

Negotiating the Coalition Contract after the 2021 Bundestag Election

Sven T. Siefken

Abstract

Getting a new government together in Germany requires building a coalition. The process for doing so has evolved, becoming more institutionalized but remaining part of informal politics. Looking closely at the coalition building in 2021 shows that its organizational structure was vertically slimmer and horizontally more differentiated than in previous years. The role of parliamentary actors was more pronounced than before, and parliamentary organization was mirrored throughout it. Yet the strong inclusion of the Länder (party) perspectives prevailed, making coalition building a multi-level task. While the process in 2021 had more procedural transparency than before, its content remained largely out of public sight. At defined steps, party approval was gathered through formal votes. Whether the established account of better personal trust among the involved partners is more than a nice narrative remains to be seen in the analysis of the coalition's governing practice.

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A Failed Attempt to Create an International Community of Communist Asian Studies in 1955

Huaiyu Chen

Abstract

East German sinologists organized an international conference on East Asian studies in Leipzig in October 1955, bringing together scholars from most communist states and several scholars from Western Europe. This conference served to unite sinologists from both the Communist Bloc and West Germany in the early Cold War era. Since the Chinese delegation was particularly honored, this article suggests that China expanded its political influence in East Europe after the Korean War and the death of Stalin, which prompted a tension within the international communist community, especially between China and the Soviet Union. Moreover, this conference demonstrated a strong “modern turn” in the rising field of Asian studies, sinology in particular, because of the rise of the People's Republic of China in the 1950s.

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Flânerie in the Time of Covid-19

French Journalistic References to Bookstore Strolling and Fashion Walking

Marylaura Papalas

Abstract

Flânerie, or the practice of urban strolling described in nineteenth-century French print and visual culture, has evolved throughout modernity, expanding its reach into more global literary traditions and becoming an important topic of research in numerous fields of academic study. Various phenomena have shaped the evolution of how we walk in the city and how artists, essayists, and journalists record it, none more so than the forced lockdowns associated with the global Covid-19 pandemic. Journalists in France invented expressions like flânerie inversée, impossible flânerie, and librairie flânerie to describe new city practices. They looked to figures like the fashion flâneuse on the catwalk as a means of sublimating the stillness and monotony of the coronavirus confinement. This article traces the emergence between March 2020 and April 2021of these variations in shopping and fashion contexts, which underscore the enduring legacy of the practice and its everlasting presence in French culture.

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France in the Times of COVID-19

The Public Humanities as a Vaccine for Coexistence

Araceli Hernández-Laroche

Abstract

This article examines the role of the public humanities in France during Covid-19 for self-preservation, coping with isolation, understanding an upended world, creating a sense of connection and belonging, and cultivating empathy for others. For instance, in dealing with the existential angst of confinement and economic woes, one of the novels that resonated the most in France and globally was Albert Camus's The Plague. At the very moment that France enforced measures to restrict access to places of culture, many French people turned to the humanities for comfort and perspective. The pandemic accelerated the need for libraries, galleries, bookstores, museums, concert halls, opera houses, theaters, cinemas, and nightclubs, as well as places of dialogue like cafés and bistros. Dialogue and the cocreation of physical and virtual communities were needed as the spread of false information relating to science, vaccines, and nation exacerbated pre-pandemic divisions in French culture.