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  • Nationalist Visions of Democracy: Sovereignty, Speech, and Belonging in Germany

Nationalist Visions of Democracy: Sovereignty, Speech, and Belonging in Germany

Researcher: April Reber, University of California, Santa Cruz (USA)

Polizeibeamte beim Versuch, Teilnehmende von verschiedenen Demonstrationen
und Kundgebungen zu gruppieren (Berlin, August 2020 / Foto: April Reber)

The empirical project is part of a doctoral research carried out at the University of California, Santa Cruz (USA) in the Department of Anthropology. First, I recognize how state structures and wider publics name and categorize extremism. Second, I analyze rightist methods of negotiating what constitutes extremism and detail normalization strategies. I focus ethnographically on the rhetoric and actions of participants of right-wing movements. Finally, I consider how rhetoric around “democracy” and “rule of law” work alongside “culture” to reproduce inclusionary and exclusionary perspectives and practices.

Guiding questions include, How do notions of (political) extremism and normalism/mainstream constitute each other? In what ways do (rightist) assumptions of democracy, the rule of law, and the civil society build upon, or diverge from, contemporary and prevalent perspectives as expressed by "mainstream" political actors? How is the rhetoric of "democracy" and "rule of law" used to reinforce racial and religious forms of belonging?

I research primarily located in Germany, but I also follow the rhetoric, stances, and activities of political movements in Austria, the Netherlands and Belgium. This research is funded by the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst, the National Science Foundation-Graduate Student Research Fellowship, and the Fulbright Scholar Program.