Radical right-wing parties in Austria and Germany are concerned with a more restrictive migration policy and stir up anti-Muslim resentment in order to win votes. However, these parties moreover aim to transform their countries in an anti-democratic and anti-liberal way. Since the last decade, gender and sexuality relations play a prominent role in this struggle for political power and cultural hegemony. Traditional gender roles are reinforced by an aggressive masculinist identity politics. Affective mobilization not only fosters and legitimizes anti-migration policies and a nativist identity – fear and anger towards groups of people stigmatized as “others”. Affectivity is also a means to mobilize a masculinist identity politics: the entitlement of men to be aggressive and angry, to blame women for a loss of security. The alleged need for heroic masculinity, for traditional gender roles and family constellations in times of “moral panic” is embedded in the evocation of love (for the nation and the family) as well as hope in populist leadership. The lecture will demonstrate the rationale of right-wing populist mobilization of affect in a gendered struggle for cultural hegemony and political power.
Birgit Sauer is professor of political science at the University of Vienna. Her research fields include right-wing populism and media, comparative gender equality policies, democracy and politics of emotions and affects. She was member of several EU research projects, including projects on right-wing populism and media, gender and right-wing populism, violence against women, gender, migration and religion. She also conducted research on affective state transformation. Recent publications include: Otto Penz and Birgit Sauer: Governing Affects: Neoliberalism, Neo-Bureaucracies, and Service Work, Routledge 2020; Mojca Pajnik and Birgit Sauer (eds.): Populism and the Web. Communicative Practices of Parties and Movements in Europe, London: Routledge 2017.