‘Islamisation of the Occident’: fear of Islam as a mobilising force of the European new right

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  • 1 Freie Universität Berlin, , Germany
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Recent research has investigated the emotional underpinnings of support for the political new right. Some of these works focus on the supply-side of support, emphasising specific political styles and discourses, whereas others emphasise the demand-side, highlighting cultural, economic and emotional factors. Lacking from this research, in particular for the European context, is an understanding of how supporters of the new right experience and make sense of pertinent cleavages with regard to emotions. The present study sets out to acquire a more detailed understanding of the emotional narratives of supporters of the new right, in particular with regard to fear and religious cleavages. Using group interviews with supporters of new right parties and movements in Germany, we show that narratives involving fear pertain to the idea of a valued collective ‘We’ that consists of political and cultural elements, and serves as a reference point to collective identity and an antidote to existential insecurities. Further, the collective We is perceived to be threatened by cultural differences and changing majority-minority relations with respect to five domains of social life: demography, liberal democratic order, public majority culture, security and welfare.

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