CfP: “The backlash of the extreme: communicative constructions and media discourses mainstreaming populism and right wing radicalism in Central and Eastern Europe” (CEEPOPCOMM); DL: 10/04/2016

The present panel is intended to be part of the 4th ESA RN-32 mid-term conference “(Dis)locating EUrope: Conflicts, challenges and changes” (28-29 October 2016, Brussel/Bruxelles, BE). It is organized by Ov Cristian NOROCEL (CEREN, University of Helsinki, FI & Centre for Social Sciences, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, HU) and Gabriella SZABÓ (Centre for Social Sciences, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, HU). We are looking forward to selecting 4-5 contributions/session.

In the present context of an extremist backlash against liberal democracy, it is of special importance to examine the extent to which public discourses are permeated by populism and right wing radicalism and the level of visibility of the populist and radical right actors in the public debates. The panel aims to identify the regional specificities of the ‘soft’ factors of radicalization such as the role of communicative constructions and media in the dynamics of populism and radical right in Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries. We also address the question of the rather under-researched populist and radical right publics: the social media are believed to be intensively used by populist and radical actors to connect with each other and mobilize electoral support. There is however a pressing need for a more systematic overview of the complex interplay between social media, traditional formats of written press, and radio and TV broadcast of populism and right wing radicalism. With this in mind, we seek contributions that discover and critically analyse the rapidly growing media universe of populism and right wing radicalism. Empirical contributions like comparative studies, longitudinal analyses, and case studies are particularly welcome to elucidate whether populist and radical media products have entered into the mainstream or they remain on the fringes of media sphere in CEE countries. We are searching for novel conceptions and innovative methods of researching the communicative constructions of populism and radical right. Therefore, the panel is open to scholars from the disciplines of political sociology, media studies, communication studies, and (digital) ethnography who are interested in the comprehensive assessments of traditional and social media in mainstreaming the extreme politics.

Please, send your abstract (approximately 300 words, include e-mail and institutional affiliation information) to both organizers at szabo.gabriella[at]tk.mta.hu and cristian.norocel[at]helsinki.fi no later than April 10 2016.

The authors would be informed in a timely manner whether their papers have been accepted to be part of the panel. The authors of selected abstract would then receive detailed information concerning the submission process that must take by April 15 2016.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Monday, March 7th, 2016 Research No Comments

Employment opportunity junior research fellows (2) within RADAR; DL: 08/09/15

We are delighted to announce that the project ‘RADAR – Mapping the radical right populism and their discourses in public spheres: the case of Romania and Hungary’ has been supported by the Incubator Funding scheme of Centre for Social Sciences, Hungarian Academy of Sciences. The 2-year-long empirical examination is driven by the main research question: what are the differences and similarities concerning the media visibility of radical right populism in Romania and Hungary? To answer the question, a multi-method approach is provided. We apply quantitative (network analysis) and qualitative (discourse analysis) methods by studying different issues of the public debates.

We are seeking to recruit 2 junior researchers (MA graduates, PhD student level) to help us with data collection and coding phases of the research activities. You may find below detailed descriptions for each position (do remember to mention the ID for the position applied):

1. Junior Research Fellow (Hungarian case study) at Centre for Social Sciences, Hungarian Academy of Sciences/Társadalomtudományi Kutatóközpont, Magyar Tudományos Akadémia (Job ID: RADAR 001/2015.)

————————————————————————————————————————————–

Eligibility: EU only

Award details: Salary up to 87.500 HUF/months gross

Duration: Part-time (20 hours per week) 8 months fixed term from October 1st, 2015

Application deadline: September 8th, 2015 23:59 CET
Interview date: September 15th, 2015

Labour regulation: Act XXIII./1992 on the Legal Status of Public Servants

————————————————————————————————————————————–

We are seeking a PhD Student of Political Science/Sociology/Communication/Media studies/Nationalism Studies, who will participate in our research project ‘RADAR – Mapping the radical right populism and their discourses in public spheres: the case of Romania and Hungary’. More information about the project can be found at the project website.

We are looking for candidates who are enthusiastic about the media studies and researches on contemporary public spheres, interested in discourse analysis and network analysis. Proficiency in English and Hungarian is desired. Familiarity with MAXQDA and Igraph/Tnet packages for ‘R’ is an advantage.

The successful applicant will work on data collection and coding phases of the research activities. She/he may be involved in dissemination also (conference/workshop participation/publication). The selected candidate will have no teaching obligations and can devote all of her/his time at CSS HAS on research activities. We provide the research infrastructure, access to library and online databases.

The complete application, including a cover letter, curriculum vitae, list of publications, and a selected piece of a manuscript/recently published article (not longer than 8000 words) must be sent by email before September 8th, 2015 to Gabriella Szabó at szabo.gabriella[at]tk.mta.hu

In the application documents please indicate the job ID: RADAR 001/2015.

Please note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. Enquiries may be made to Gabriella Szabó at szabo.gabriella[at]tk.mta.hu

2. Junior Research Fellow (Romanian case study) at Centre for Social Sciences, Hungarian Academy of Sciences/Társadalomtudományi Kutatóközpont, Magyar Tudományos Akadémia (Job ID: RADAR 002/2015.)

————————————————————————————————————————————–

Eligibility: EU only

Award details: Salary up to 87.500 HUF/months gross

Duration: Part-time (20 hours per week) 8 months fixed term from October 1st, 2015

Application deadline: September 8th, 2015 23:59 CET

Interview date: September 15th, 2015

Labour regulation: Act XXIII./1992 on the Legal Status of Public Servants

————————————————————————————————————————————–

We are seeking a PhD Student of Political Science/Sociology/Communication/Media studies/Nationalism Studies, who will participate in our research project ‘RADAR – Mapping the radical right populism and their discourses in public spheres: the case of Romania and Hungary’. More information about the project can be found at the project website.

We are looking for candidates who are enthusiastic about the media studies and researches on contemporary public spheres, interested in discourse analysis and network analysis. Proficiency in English and Romanian is desired. Familiarity with MAXQDA and Igraph/Tnet packages for ‘R’ is an advantage.

The successful applicant will work on data collection and coding phases of the research activities. She/he may be involved in dissemination also (conference/workshop participation/publication). The selected candidate will have no teaching obligations and can devote all of her/his time at CSS HAS on research activities. We provide the research infrastructure, access to library and online databases.

The complete application, including a cover letter, curriculum vitae, list of publications, and a selected piece of a manuscript/recently published article (not longer than 8000 words) must be sent by email before September 8th, 2015 to Gabriella Szabó at szabo.gabriella[at]tk.mta.hu

In the application documents please indicate the job ID: RADAR 002/2015.

Please note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. Enquiries may be made to Gabriella Szabó at szabo.gabriella[at]tk.mta.hu


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015 Research No Comments

‘Iso Jytky’ reloaded?

The results for the 2015 Finnish parliamentary elections are now preliminarily available (a vote re-recount is underway, but no changes are expected to happen). In the table below, the elections results are compared to the previous elections in 2011, and to the latest opinion polls (HS/TNS Gallup – 14 April 2015; YLE/Taloustukimus – 16 April 2015).

Party Election results (April 2011) (%) Opinion poll (HS/

TNS Gallup)

(14 April 2015) (%)

Opinion poll (YLE/

Taloustutkimus)

(16 April 2015) (%)

Election results (April 2015) (% change) Seats in Parliament (Eduskunta/ Riksdagen) (seat change)
National Coalition Party (Kok/ Kansallinen Kokoomus/ Samlingspartiet/ Saml) 20.4 17 16.9 18.2

(-2.2)

37

(-7)

Social Democratic Party of Finland (SDP/ Suomen Sosialidemokraattinen Puolue/ Finlands Socialdemokratiska Parti) 19.1 17 15.1 16.5

(-2.6)

34

(-8)

(True) Finns (Party) (PS/ Perussuomalaiset/ Sannfinländarna/ SF) 19.1 16.2 16.7 17.6

(-1.5)

38

(-1)

Cetre Party (Kesk/ Suomen Keskusta/ Centern i Finland/ C) 15.8 23 24.0 21.1

(+5.3)

49

(+14)

Left Alliance (Vas/ Vasemmistoliitto/ Vänsterförbundet/ Vf) 8.1 8.5 8.3 7.1

(-1.0)

12

(-2)

Green League (Vihr/ Vihreä liitto/ Gröna förbundet/ Grö) 7.2 8.1 8.8 8.5

(+1.3)

15

(+5)

Swedish People’s Party (SFP/ Svenska folkpartiet i Finland/ Suomen ruotsalainen kansanpuolue/ RKP) 4.3 4.6 4.6 4.9

(+0.6)

9+1

(0)

Christian Democrats (KD/ Kristillisdemokraatit/ Kristdemokraterna) 4.0 3.7 3.5 3.5

(-0.5)

5

(-1)

A few preliminary conclusions in the aftermath of the 2015 Finnish parliamentary elections:

1) The next Finnish PM will most probably be Juha Sipilä (Kesk/ C).He is a former businessman and entrepreneur and was elected party leader as late as 2012 albeit having been a MEP only since 2011. Sipilä is member of the Word of Peace (Rauhan Sana), a Christian Lutheran Laestadian group, which is known for its opposition to same-sex unions, the ordination of women priests, and opposition to abortion and euthanasia (in Finnish, tässä). It remains to be seen how these elements will be reflected in the coming political agenda.

2) The coming parliament (Eduskunta/ Riksdagen) (with a total of 200 MPs) is going to be dominated by native Finnish middle-aged men (117 MPs), whilst the number of women decreases during this parliamentary cycle (only 83 MPs) (in English, here). In addition, most party leaders are men (with only the exception of Päivi Räsänen, chairperson of the Christian conservative KD). The breakdown according to party affiliation is as follows: the Kesk/ C has only 14 women MPs out of total of 49 (thus, only 28.6% women among the party’s MPs); the PS/ SF has only 12 women MPs out of 38 (31.6%); the Kok/ Saml has 16 women MPs out of 37 (43.3%); the SDP has 21 women MPs out of 34 (61.8%), thus more than half with a good margin of the total number of MPs; the Vihr/ Grön has 7 women MPs out of 15 MPs (46.7%); the Vas/ VF has 7 women MPs out of a total of 12 MPs (58.3%); the SFP/ RKP has also regressed with only 3 women MPs out of 9 + 1 MPs (the extra is representing the Åland constituency) (30%); the KD has 3 women MPs out of a total of 5 MPs (60%). Interestingly enough, it is the progressive left (both the social-democratic SDP and the left Vas/ VF) and the Christian conservative KD that have women representing more than half of their total number of MPs. The most significant difference is to be found among the agrarian-liberal Kesk/ C with not even a third women MPs, and the populist radical right PS/SF with just below a third women MPs.

3) The populist radical right consolidates its inroads into mainstream politics. Although the party records a slight setback (-1.5%) and loses 1 MP, it is confirmed among the larger parties in Finnish politics, even becoming second largest party in the coming parliamentary cycle. So in a way, chairman Timo Soini could claim that this is a ‘iso jytky’ (in English, something like ‘a big thing/event’) of sorts.  Indeed, it seems that nostalgic agrarian-populism combined with thinly veiled xenophobia and populist homophobia is a well-received electoral concoction among Finnish voters. Two illustrative cases: Teuvo Hakkarainen, also known as the ‘apostle of genuineness’ – for his outright xenophobic and anti-LGBTQI remarks and modern reinterpretation of the infamous Madagascar plan – and the originator on Twitter of the Swedish language hashtag #snoppselfie (in English something along the lines of ‘#willieselfie’) as well as the (somewhat) tamer equivalent in Finnish #kikkelikuva (in English, something like ‘#williepic’) (I have discussed these at length in two previous blog entries, here and here) – for his unrestrained machistic courting strategies, bombing women with unsolicited pictures of his penis. Hakkarainen was reelected, and even enjoyed an increase in electoral support. The other example is Maria Tolppanen, who argued she would ‘scream with joy’ if in her constituency in Vaasa/Vasa would be ‘fewer mamu (derogatory Finnish term for migrants) and instead ‘more people (humans)’ enjoying the city square. Criticism of her barely disguised xenophobia was dismissed by usual means (a misplaced punctuation mark) (the topic was analyzed on Migrant tales, here).

4) For the first time, there are two (2) MPs of non-European migrant background. For Finnish politics this is something of a first. It may sound little, but for long Finland had only 1 MP of non-Finnish migrant background (Elisabeth Nauclér, from Sweden, representing Åland constituency), and a few of a mixed Finnish – non-Finnish background, such as Jani Toivola (Vihr/ Grön); and Ben Zyskowicz (Kok/ Saml). Now there are two MPs, Nasima Razmyar (SDP), a woman with roots in Afganistan; and Ozan Yanar (Vihr/Grö), a man with roots in Turkey (in English, here). Both of them got elected in the capital Helsinki/ Helsingfors constituency.

At the moment, a lot of speculations concern the cabinet negotiations, particularly if the PS/ SF is going to join the coming governmental formula. What kind of ‘iso jytky’ and for whom remains to be seen in the coming 4 years.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Monday, April 20th, 2015 Research No Comments

Gazing into the Abyss? The Finnish Parliamentary Elections 2015

On Sunday 19 April 2015 in Finland are scheduled elections for the Finnish Parliament (Eduskunta/ Riksdagen). Four years ago, in April 2011, the (True) Finns (Party) (PS/ Perussuomalaiset/ Sannfinländarna/ SF) took Finnish politics by storm polling 19.05% of the votes, consequently increasing its parliamentary presence to 39 members of parliament (MPs) from the previously modest 5 MPs in the Eduskunta/ Riksdagen. Then, the PS/ SF skilfully combined anti-establishment and anti-EU appeals with thinly veiled xenophobic and racist stances. The PS/ SF actively chose a comfortable place on the opposition benches, from where its MPs could constantly criticize the various governmental efforts to navigate through the unfolding economic crisis, without the need to provide clear and feasible policy alternatives. At the same time, the competition between the ‘old’ agrarian populist guard around the PS/ SF chair Timo Soini and the ‘upcoming’ anti-immigration wing coalescing around such controversial figures as Jussi Halla-Aho (now one of the party’s MEPs in Brussels) and Olli Immonen appears to have sharpened. Tellingly, the PS/ SF 2015 election programme indicates, besides the imperative to defend the fatherland and strengthen further the status of Finnish language – an appeal that echoes familiar and comforting even to the moderately nationalist supporters – the need to address the existing Finnish migration policy, which is deemed too permissive and miscalibrated, and enforce a more clearly assimilative stance – an appeal unmistakably aimed to consolidate the party’s hold on the more radical voters.

The PS/ SF electoral strategy seems to have consolidated the party’s position among the 4 largest political parties in Finland. However, the opinion polls suggest the PS/ SF does not enjoy the same level of support as in the 2011 Finnish parliamentary elections and  that it has stagnated around the same level of support as in the 2014 European parliamentary elections (when the PS/ SF polled some 12.87%), hovering around 16%. This notwithstanding, the competition is still open to the PS/SF to qualify as the country’s second largest party, a trend indicated by the latest opinion polls. Indeed, the PS/ SF received some 16.2 to 16.7% in the latest opinion polls (HS/TNS Gallup, respectively YLE/Taloustukimus) whilst the largest party in the present cabinet coalition, the conservative National Coalition Party (Kansallinen Kokoomus/ Kok/ Samlingspartiet/ Saml) polled between 16.9 and 17% and the Finnish Social-Democrats (Suomen Sosialidemokraattinen Puolue/ SDP/ Finlands Socialdemokratiska Parti) show signs of wear-off after being the second largest party in the cabinet, swinging between 15.1 to 17% in the same polls.

Party Election results (April 2011) Opinion poll (HS/TNS Gallup)

(14 April 2015)

Opinion poll (YLE/Taloustutkimus)

(16 April 2015)

Election results (19 April 2015)
National Coalition Party (Kok/ Kansallinen Kokoomus/ Samlingspartiet/ Saml) 20.44 17 16.9
Social Democratic Party of Finland (SDP/ Suomen Sosialidemokraattinen Puolue/ Finlands Socialdemokratiska Parti) 19.15 17 15.1
(True) Finns (Party) (PS/ Perussuomalaiset/ Sannfinländarna/ SF) 19.10 16.2 16.7
Cetre Party (Kesk/ Suomen Keskusta/ Centern i Finland/ C) 15.80 23 24.0
Left Alliance (Vas/ Vasemmistoliitto/ Vänsterförbundet/ Vf) 8.15 8.5 8.3
Green League (Vihr/ Vihreä liitto/ Gröna förbundet/ G) 7.27 8.1 8.8
Swedish People’s Party (SFP/ Svenska folkpartiet i Finland/ Suomen ruotsalainen kansanpuolue/ RKP) 4.29 4.6 4.6
Christian Democrats (KD/ Kristillisdemokraatit/ Kristdemokraterna) 4.04 3.7 3.5

A lot of speculation in the eve of elections concentrates on the possible cabinet constellations that the most likely elections victors, the Cetre Party (Kesk/ Suomen Keskusta/ Centern i Finland/ C) will attempt to construct. At the moment most likely scenarios consider if the Kesk/ C will pursue a so-called or red-earth cabinet coalition (punamulta/ rödmylla) with the SDP, or a right leaning governmental coalition with what seems to be the election’s main losers, the Kok/ Saml of PM Alexander Stubb. None of these two cabinet constellations will be sufficiently solid, and the question remains if the Kesk/ C will turn to the PS/ SF as a third coalition partner or opt for the traditionally Finnish model of cabinets with surplus parties? A word of caution, however, comes from further afield. In Hungary, the populist radical right Hungarian Movement for a Better Hungary (Jobbik/ Jobbik Magyarországért Mozgalom) has won the by-elections in the Tapolca-Ajka-Sümeg district on 12 April. The victory of the Jobbik representative in front of the conservatives’ candidate of PM Viktor Orbán in these by-elections are indicated as evidence that formally distancing from the populist radical right, whilst co-opting its strategies is a losing game.

With this in mind, returning to the post-election political landscape in Finland, one can wonder how are the cabinet negotiations going to unfold, if the Kesk/ C is indeed to be confirmed as the largest party in the upcoming elections Sunday 19 April? Will the SDP be willing to erode further is electoral base and to form the backbone of a red-earth government together with the Kesk/ C? Is the Kesk/ C going to seriously pursue a governmental constellation with the PS/ SF? At what costs, considering that both the Left Alliance (Vas/ Vasemmistoliitto/ Vänsterförbundet/ Vf) and the Greens (Vihr/ Vihreä liitto/ Gröna förbundet/ G) have articulated a clear anti-xenophobic and anti-racist alternative? What will happen to Swedish People’s Party (SFP/ Svenska folkpartiet i Finland/ Suomen ruotsalainen kansanpuolue/ RKP), given the fact that the party managed to be in all governments since 1979? Will the SFP/ RKP accept partaking in a governing coalition together with the PS/ SF, despite their outspoken stance against Finland’s bilingualism and the vitrolic attacks agains the Swedish-speakers by the various PS/ SF rank and file? Above all, considering the rather bleak economic perspectives that Finland is facing, how much of the nativist and xenophobic rhetoric of the PS/ SF is going to be tolerated at the negotiation table?

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Friday, April 17th, 2015 Research No Comments

CfP: Populism and radical right politics in Central and Eastern Europe: rethinking the role of media, public discourse and their publics (25-28/08/15, 12th ESA – Prague, CZ); DL: 28/01/15.

Part of the 12th Conference of the European Sociological Association (25-28 August 2015, Prague, CZ), the RN32 Political Sociology organizes Session 4: The Populist Radical Right as Political Actor in Europe. The proposed panel on populism and radical right politics in Central and Eastern Europe is organized by Gabriella Szabó (CSS, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, HU) szabo.gabriella[at]tk.mta.hu and Ov Cristian Norocel (CEREN, University of Helsinki, FI) cristian.norocel[at]helsinki.fi, and is envisaged to fit within this framework.

Already a decade ago it was aptly noted that the study of populist radical right in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) resembles the efforts of aiming at a target in motion. Since then, several researchers have explored the populist radical right political landscape in the region. Still, we believe that studies of populism and radical right are facing the dilemma of whether categories of Western-oriented research properly describe the populist and radical right politics in CEE countries. A case in point, anti-immigration and Islamophobia seem to be non-issues in the CEE contexts, whilst ethno-nationalism (such as in Bulgaria, Macedonia, Romania), fundamentalist Catholicism (like in Croatia, Poland) and the frustration over the loss of past glories of the country (Hungary) are often hard to synchronize with Western developments. All the more important, the study of populist radical right parties needs to take into account the increasing inequality and growing intolerance to difference (be it ethnic, religious, etc.) in the societies across the CEE. The much needed comparative analyses on European trends of populism and radical right radicalism should be supported by deeper theoretical, conceptual and empirical knowledge on the regional specificities in CEE countries. It is especially true for the ‘soft’ factors of radicalization such as the role of media and public discourse in the dynamics of populism and radical right. Therefore, we seek comprehensive assessments of mainstream media response to the populism and radical right radicalism.

The panel aims to examine the extent to which public discourses are penetrated by populism and the level of visibility of the populist and radical right actors are in the public debates. We also address the question of the rather under-researched populist and radical right publics. The social media are believed to be intensively used by populist and radical actors to connect with each other and mobilize electoral support. If it is the case, we are interested in studying the impact and the patterns of this interactive way of populist and radical right communication in CEE countries. The international literature lacks reliable information on the rapidly growing media universe of populism and radical right radicalism with a powerful mix of social media, traditional formats of written press and radio and TV broadcast to balance the hostile mainstream media environment. In other words, we are interested to examine both in a comparative perspective and in case studies whether populist and radical media products have entered into the mainstream or they remain on the fringes of media sphere. We encourage contributions that investigate complex social manifestations, such as the examination of the subcultural environment in the CEE, the intersections of popular culture (skinhead music, rock festivals, and football hooliganism), mass gathering (marches, rallies, festivals) and identity construction (with particular attention to intersections of gender, ethnicity, and sexuality).

Please, send your abstract (no more than 250 words) to both organizers at szabo.gabriella[at]tk.mta.hu and cristian.norocel[at]helsinki.fi by January 28 2015. The potential participants will be informed in due time whether their papers have been accepted and be directed to submit the abstracts through the conference official submission platform before February 1 2015.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015 Research No Comments

(Late) CfP: Public opinion and (media) representations of “the other”, for 12th Annual IMISCOE Conference (25-27/06/15 Geneva, Switzerland); DL: 14/01/15

Part of the 12th Annual IMISCOE Conference Rights, Democracy and Migration (25-27 June 2015, Geneva, Switzerland), the workshop titled Public opinion and (media) representations of “the other” is organized by Anders Hellström (MIM, Malmö University); anders.hellstrom[at]mah.se and Ov Cristian Norocel (CEREN, University of Helsinki); cristian.norocel[at]helsinki.fi. We are very glad to announce that Gregg Bucken-Knapp will act as discussant again.

There are terrorist attacks against e.g. cartoonists in Paris, mass demonstrations against Islam in several German cities and almost a re-election in Sweden due to the behavior of the anti-immigration party, the Sweden Democrats (SD), something which was abandoned in the last minute. “The other” is in our face. And the population is divided.

While ethnic and demographic diversification are welcomed by some, there is a growing concern about the effects of immigration on the economy and on welfare, beside a preoccupation that relates to what is seen as the cultural impact of migration on national identity. These positions often translate into a demand for political response and action targeting asylum-seeker and refugees and in general the number of migrants entering the country.

Within this context, popular xenophobic sentiments show different and more dangerous faces. In this workshop we will further develop on the crucial dynamic of representations of “the other” in relation to the natives – in the media, the public sphere and/or the field of party politics – and public attitudes of “the other” in a similar set of spheres.

Different kind of outbursts against people of non-native background (or members of minority groups) are part of the everyday experiences of many minorities in Europe today, e.g. Jews, Muslims and Roma; these groups are subject to various forms of discrimination, exclusionary practices, deprivation and unfair treatment as a result. It is by appealing to anti-immigrant attitudes and to general concerns about immigration among the population that anti-immigration parties across Europe endeavor to mobilize those voters who are more ‘receptive’ to these issues.

But increasingly harsh immigration restrictions, regulations and exclusionary practices are not only advocated by extreme and populist radical right wing parties. Outside the party political sphere, there are a multitude of movements in civil society who mobilize (and counter mobilize) on these issues. On a top down level, European governments and elites have tried to limit both the access to the nation-states and to the welfare benefits by introducing or strengthening hierarchies of stratifications between groups deemed to be entitled/deserving in opposition to those not-entitled and undeserving.

The ongoing economic recession and the steadily growing levels of unemployment have triggered social mobilization of anti-immigration movements, as well as anti-austerity and Euroskeptical activities despite the governments’ attempt to control the situation.

The panel welcomes papers that deal with the consequences of ever-changing socio-economic circumstances and recent dramatic events in Europe in e.g. terms of changing patterns of party-political preferences and/or people´s attitudes towards immigration and the welfare state. We encourage comparative analyses of commonalities and differences between reactions and mobilizations in particular regions, but also in a wider European perspective. We welcome papers that deal with for instance representations of “the other” in terms of voting behavior, with analyses of anti-immigration policies and public discourses and representations and also large-N studies in terms of e.g. popular attitudes towards immigration and the welfare state.

Please, send your abstract (approximately 250 words) to the organizers at anders.hellstrom[at]mah.se and cristian.norocel[at]helsinki.fi by January 14 2015. The participants will get to know if their papers have been accepted soon after the IMISCOE board has made their decision.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, January 8th, 2015 Research No Comments

2014 in Romanian Politics: More Active Citizens Moving Past the Ethno-Nationalist Nostalgia?

A TURBULENT SPRING: THE 2014 EUROPEAN PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS

It has been a very busy political year in Romania. The EU Parliament elections in May 2014 seemed to confirm the strong position enjoyed by the alliance of social-democrats (Partidul Social Democrat, PSD), which polled 38% of the votes and received half of the seats allocated for Romania (16 MEPs). First, the PSD was followed at a significant distance by the liberals (Partidul Naţional Liberal, PNL), which polled 15% (6 MEPs) and conservatives (Partidul Democrat Liberal, PDL), which polled 12% (5 MEPs). The rest of the seats into the EU Parliament were distributed among an independent candidate (Mircea Diaconu), the party representing the interests of the Hungarian minority (Uniunea Democrată Maghiară din România, UDMR/Romániai Magyar Demokrata Szövetség, RMDSZ) (2 MEPs), and the newly formed conservative party (Partidul Mișcarea Populară, PMP) (2 MEPs). Second, the EU Parliament elections appear to indicate that the political influence of outgoing president Traian Băsescu, at the end of his second mandate, is long past its zenith. More clearly, the PMP, despite being endorsed and heavily supported by outgoing president Băsescu polled only a modest 6.21%. Third, reflecting the political competition to come in the fall for the presidential elections, in the aftermath of the EU Parliament elections, the PNL renounced its political affiliation to the European Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party (ALDE) and joined the competing conservative Group of the European People’s Party (EPP), joining in several other Romanian political parties (namely, PDL, UDMR/RMDSZ, and the newly accepted PMP). Since, the PSD maintained its affiliation to the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D), the consequence of these elections was that at EU level, the political landscape in Romania indicated a polarization between a social-democratic pole, crystallized around the PSD, and a rather centrifugal conservative-popular grouping, which was formed of the other political entities. However, in national politics the picture was complicated further by the Victor Ponta II cabinet, which since February 2014 reunited the PSD, several smaller parties, and the UDMR/RMDSZ.

THE FIRST ROUND OF PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS:

For the presidential elections in the fall (the first round scheduled for 2 November; respectively the run-offs for 16 November), 14 candidates succeeded to collect the necessary endorsement from at least 200 000 voters for their candidacy to be validated. Among these candidates, in the eve of the first round of Presidential elections, opinion polls suggested that acting PM Ponta (PSD) received approximately 40% of the voting intentions, followed by Klaus Iohannis, the mayor of Sibiu (in German, Hermannstadt) and candidate of the newly formed Liberal Christian Alliance (ACL) between the PNL and PDL, who collected some 30% of the voting intentions. Four other candidates managed to receive between 10% and 5% of the voting intentions, Monica Macovei (independent, former PDL member); Teodor Meleșcanu (independent, former director of Romanian foreign intelligent services); Călin Popescu Tăriceanu (independent, leader of a PNL breakaway grouping under the name Reformist Liberal Party), and last but not least Elena Udrea (PMP). Among the other eight candidates, none of which polled more than around 3% of the voting intentions, it is worth noting Hunor Kelemen (UDMR/RMDSZ) and two populist radical right politicians: Corneliu Vadim Tudor, leader of the nearly extinct Greater Romania Party (Partidul România Mare, PRM); Dan Diaconescu, leader of the newcomer People’s Party-Dan Diaconescu (Partidul Poporului-Dan Diaconescu, PP-DD).

The electoral campaign was marked by the emergence of several rather peculiar issues in a contemporary electoral context: appeals to religion and ethnic belonging, and to family status. Celebrating his birthday in September, an overly confident PM Ponta launched his candidacy in front of 70 000 supporters gathered on the National Arena in Bucharest, with the slogans “Proud to be Romanians” (“Mândri că suntem români”) and “Victor Ponta – the president that unites!” (“Victor Ponta – preşedintele care uneşte!”), in a ceremony abounding of references to the Romanian ethno-nationalist project and bringing religion in the political campaign. Illustrative of this, the head of Romanian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Daniel, awarded at the beginning of October one of the highest ecclesiastical distinctions to the chief of Ponta’s electoral campaign, Liviu Dragnea, apparently for his efforts to renovate churches in close collaboration with the Orthodox Church[1]. Indeed, Ponta chose to profile himself as part of the ethnic Romanian majority and a practicing Romanian Christian Orthodox. His statement was regarded to be a direct attack against the conservative-popular candidate, Iohannis (in German, Johannis) being part of the German ethnic minority in Romania and of Lutheran faith. Iohannis indicated coldly that Romania is a secular state and that he holds only Romanian citizenship[2]. Another personal attack against Iohannis was registered later on during the campaign, when the spokeswoman of Ponta’s presidential campaign Gabriela Firea commented on the suitability of Iohannis for the presidential function, arguing that being childless (like the Iohannis couple) is a sign incomplete family life, contrasting with Ponta being a “good family man”[3]. These were not however the only personal attacks in the campaign: outgoing president Băsescu involved rather openly in supporting the candidacy of Udrea (PMP) and accused PM Ponta of being an undercover agent for the Romanian foreign intelligence services (SIE), an accusation that did not have the negative impact it was intended.

Three other issues are worth noting concerning the first round of the 2014 presidential elections: a first one concerns the fact that two women politicians (Macovei and Udrea) competed with a serious chance to become the third best qualified candidates in the presidential contest. In a sense both are connected to the outgoing president Băsescu and the center-right conservative PDL. President Băsescu seems to have chosen Udrea, former minister of regional development and tourism (2008-2009; 2009-2012), to continue his political legacy. Băsescu forced a split in the PDL and entrusted the newly formed PMP to be Udrea’s political vehicle. In turn, Macovei has created over the years an anti-corruption political profile during her time at the helm of the ministry of justice (2004-2007) that she has later cemented during her mandate as MEP (2009-2014). The fact that they competed for the highest position in Romanian politics and not merely symbolically, despite the fact that Romanian politics are characterized by a masculinized and misogynistic political culture, indicates that we witness a slight shift towards a more gender equal perspective about women as capable politicians on the Romanian mainstream political stage. The second issue pertains to the peculiarity of Macovei’s candidacy and her political campaign that lacked the support of a wide party infrastructure across the country and consequently relied exclusively on the help of dedicated volunteers and had a very strong presence in social media (particularly Facebook and Twitter). Eventually, Macovei came in the fifth place polling 4.44% of the votes, close behind Udrea who polled 5.2% of the votes, despite the fact that Udrea benefited from the substantial support of the PMP’s territorial infrastructure across the country (see Table 1 for detailed electoral results).

The third one refers to the problematic organization of the polling stations for the Romanians voting from abroad (the so called “diaspora vote”, which was organized in its own electoral bureau, in addition to the 47 electoral bureaus arranged at national level). Quite early during first round of the presidential elections it became apparent that the number, size and placing of voting stations abroad has been seriously underestimated. Consequently, very long queues had formed outside these voting stations, oftentimes stretching over several hundreds of meters. Unfortunately, the voting stations were closed at 21:00 local time across the various locations, although not all citizens queuing for hours on a row had the possibility to cast their vote, particularly in cities with significant Romanian expat communities across Europe, such as Paris, Rome, Turin, Madrid, London, Munich, and Stuttgart. Indeed, the 48th electoral bureau declared only a total of 161 054 votes from the various polling stations across the world. Various social media (Facebook, Twitter) were quickly flooded with recordings of these queues and protest manifestations were organized over the days to follow in the principal urban centers (in Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, Timişoara, etc.) across the country in support of the diaspora. The limited voting stations for the Romanian diaspora was considered by many to be a purposeful decision on behalf of the PSD-led government to prevent the diaspora to vote, particularly having in mind that in the 2009 presidential elections the social-democratic candidate was narrowly defeated because of the diaspora vote that supported the center-right conservative candidate.

THE PRESIDENTIAL RUN-OFFS

The first round of the presidential elections confirmed Ponta (40.44%) and respectively Iohannis (30.37%) as the two counter-candidates to continue in the run-offs. After intense negotiations, the two met in two televised debates that concluded with indecisive results. Preparing for the run-offs the two candidates adopted different electoral strategies. Ponta’s candidacy was officially endorsed by several previous presidential candidates, among which Popescu Tăriceanu, who was named by Ponta as the future prime minister should he win the presidency[4]. In addition, both populist radical right candidates, Diaconescu and Tudor, confirmed their support for Ponta’s candidacy encouraging their electorate to vote for him. The alliance with these radical political forces was described as a reenactment of the early 1990s Red Quadrilateral (patrulaterul roşu), a less dignifying period when the social-democrats allied themselves with the populist radical right to rule Romania[5]. In addition, the Romanian Orthodox Church was accused of getting involved in the elections in favor of Ponta, in return for the promise of substantial state financing[6]. In turn, Iohannis announced he would not search the endorsement of any of his previous counter-candidates in the presidential race, rather he appealed directly to the Romanian electorate to support his presidential bid[7]. Later on Macovei announced she endorses Iohannis’ candidacy[8], whilst Udrea and later on Kelemen chose not to endorse any of the candidates, leaving their supporters to opt for one or the other.

A contentious issue concerned the manner of addressing the challenges present in the 48th electoral bureau that collected the diaspora vote. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Titus Corlățean, presented his resignation at the pressure of citizens’ street protests and was replaced by former presidential candidate Meleșcanu, but despite strong criticism concerning the organizational shortcomings of the first round, and the repeated appeals of civil society and various political parties to open additional polling stations, the decision was to maintain the same number of polling stations abroad and instead increased the number of voting booths available at each polling station. However this measure was vehemently criticized for being insufficient and triggered a strong popular mobilization both abroad and in Romania, yet again with the help of social media, whereby Romanian citizens started queuing in front of the polling stations abroad even before these had opened, armed with toothbrushes and chanting to be allowed their democratic right to vote.

For the run-off on 16 November 2014, the electoral participation increased with approximately 10%, from a national average of 52.31% voting presence (with 51.64% in the cities and 53.21% in the rural areas) and 161 054 casting their vote in the 294 polling stations abroad in the first round, to a national average of 62.04% casting their vote (with 61.41% in the cities and 62.88% in the rural areas) and 378 811 voting in the 48th electoral bureau at the 294 polling stations abroad. However, not all Romanian citizens that queued for hours in a row outside the polling stations abroad managed to cast their vote, leading to several incidents and the intervention of local police forces that dispersed the people with tear gas in both Paris and Turin[9]. At the closing of the polling stations, the exit polls indicated a very close score, though it became apparent quite early during the night that the social-democratic candidate was losing ground. Later the same night PM Ponta conceded defeat to Iohannis who celebrated the victory praising Romanian citizens for being the heroes of the day for their “phenomenal vote”[10].

From the preliminary final data delivered by the Romanian Central Electoral Bureau (Biroul Electoral Central, BEC), Victor Ponta polled 45.49% of the votes (a total of 5 264 383 votes, compared to 3 836 093 votes received in the first round), whilst Klaus Iohannis polled 54.50% of the votes (a total of 6 288 769, compared to 2 881 406 votes in the first round). Some foreign media rushed to argue that Iohannis won because of the diaspora vote[11], in a manner similar to the victory registered by Băsescu in 2009 against his social-democratic counter-candidate. While it seems to be true that the vote in the diaspora has been overwhelmingly in favor of Iohannis (over 89%), the electoral battle was won in Romania: in several counties Iohannis polled over 65% of the votes (in Alba, Arad, Covasna, Cluj, Harghita, Mureş, Satu-Mare, Sibiu, and Timiş); and polled over 50% of the votes in counties generally considered to be social-democratic strongholds (in Constanţa, Iaşi, Tulcea, and Suceava).

In conclusion, it seems that the elections witnessed to citizens’ rejection of the old ethno-nationalist discourse and punishment of Ponta’s political arrogance and disconnection from the plight of the common citizens[12]. Another aspect worth noting is that, although Ponta was able to form his first cabinet in the aftermath of the 2012 citizens’ protests, the social-democrats did not pay sufficient attention to new forms of citizens’ mobilization with the help of social media (particularly Facebook and Twitter). At the same time there are several cautious voices that warn on the overly optimistic attitude connected to Iohannis as future president, noting that besides Meleșcanu’s resignation the PSD-led governing coalition does not appear inclined to assume responsibility for the problematic organization of the elections abroad or to give in to the increasingly louder appeals to Ponta to hand in his resignation. Despite the defeat of its candidate, these elections are an undeniable opportunity for the PSD, but also for the other parties across the political board, to address more seriously citizens’ concerns regarding corruption and a more transparent and accountable politics[13].

Table 1: The results of the 2014 Romanian presidential elections, ordered according to the results in the first round, with provisional final results for the run-offs[14]

Candidate Party/Alliance First round (%) Run-offs (%)
Victor Ponta PSD 40.44 45.49
Klaus Iohannis ACL (PNL + PDL) 30.37 54.50
Călin Popescu Tăriceanu Independent 5.36
Elena Udrea PMP 5.2
Monica Macovei Independent 4.44
Dan Diaconescu PP-DD 4.03
Corneliu Vadim Tudor PRM 3.68
Hunor Kelemen UDMR/RMDSZ 3.47
Teodor Meleșcanu Independent 1.09

Note: This blog entry has also been published, albeit in a slightly revised form, on Baltic Worlds section on Elections.

Footnotes:


[1] http://www.gandul.info/politica/vrednic-este-liviu-dragnea-a-primit-ordinul-sfintii-martiri-brancoveni-din-partea-patriarhului-daniel-13378790

[2] http://www.evz.ro/vezi-cum-comenteaza-iohannis-atacurile-legate-de-religia-sa.html

[3] http://www.gandul.info/stiri/gabriela-firea-atac-murdar-la-klaus-iohannis-a-fi-familist-inseamna-si-sa-ai-copii-cand-a-spus-ca-investeste-in-imobiliare-nu-in-copii-a-spus-din-greseala-ce-gandea-13372864

[4] http://www.cotidianul.ro/ponta-e-posibil-sa-i-propun-lui-tariceanu-postul-de-premier-250476/

[5] http://www.romanialibera.ro/politica/politica-alegeri-prezidentiale/noul-patrulater-ro%C5%9Eu—psd–unpr–pc–prm-356014?c=q2561

[6] http://www.gandul.info/stiri/alianta-bor-psd-operatiunea-bani-si-imobile-pentru-biserica-contra-voturi-pro-ponta-13532077

[7] http://www.revista22.ro/klaus-iohannis-e-un-lucru-care-trebuie-sa-ne-dea-de-gandit-daca-alianta-de-guvernare-reface-patrulaterul-rosu-victor-ponta-e-disperat-si-minte-49651.html

[8] http://www.romaniatv.net/alegeri-prezidentiale-2014-monica-macovei-il-sprijina-pe-klaus-iohannis-in-turul-ii-al-prezidentialelor_181857.html

[9] http://adevarul.ro/news/politica/eu-diaspora-n-a-vrut-voteze-1_5469c6790d133766a8f54b7f/index.html; http://www.digi24.ro/Stiri/Digi24/Special/COTROCENI+2014/VOT+DIASPORA+Cozi+infernale+si+gaze+lacrimogene; http://www.mondonews.ro/romanii-din-paris-si-torino-au-fost-dispersati-cu-gaze-lacrimogene-de-politisti/

[10] http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/nov/16/romania-klaus-iohannis-president

[11] http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-30076716

[12] http://adevarul.ro/news/politica/bunerangul-l-a-doborat-victor-ponta-1_5469f4be0d133766a8f6db34/index.html; http://adevarul.ro/news/politica/de-pierdut-psd-sindromul-benjamin-button-psd-ului-1_5469e26c0d133766a8f631ba/index.html; http://www.hotnews.ro/stiri-opinii-18589433-castigat-romania-prin-alegerea-lui-klaus-iohannis.htm

[13] http://adevarul.ro/locale/cluj-napoca/mesaj-dur-organizatorul-protestului-cluj-acl-nu-imbuibatilor-fanfaronilor-victoria-nu-e-voastra-1_546b43bc0d133766a800ffd4/index.html

[14] http://www.bec2014.ro/rezultate/

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Friday, November 21st, 2014 Research No Comments

CfP (Extended DL to 10/09/14): From Where We Stand: Intersections of Gender, Ethnicity/‘Race’, Social Class and Sexuality in the aftermath of State-Socialism

Convenors: Ov Cristian Norocel (Centre for Research on Ethnic Relations and Nationalism (CEREN), University of Helsinki) and Oana Baluta (Faculty of Journalism and Communication Sciences, University of Bucharest)

The present panel is intended to be part of the 2015 Conference of the Society for Romanian Studies (SRS), titled ‘Linking Past, Present and Future: The 25th Anniversary of Regime Change in Romania and Moldova (1989/1991)’, hosted by the Faculty of Political Science, the University of Bucharest (17–19 June 2015, Bucharest, Romania).

The panel aims to provide a forum for interdisciplinary critical investigations of the socio-political transformations that Romania witnessed since the violent overthrow of the Ceausescu dictatorship in December 1989 up until the presidential elections in November/December 2014. We are particularly interested in intersectional analyses from a variety of disciplines – anthropology and ethnography, gender and sexuality studies, linguistics, media studies, political sciences, and sociology – that examine and critically interrogate the post-1989 transformations of the public and political domain towards an updated form of patriarchal structuring and the crystallization of a male-dominated politics marked by nationalist obsessions, and consequently juxtaposing the political marginalization of women to that of ethnic minorities.

With this in mind, possible topics may include, but need not be limited to the following:

-          From left to right building a European Romania: intersectional analyses of ideological manifestations in Romanian politics (gender, ethnicity/‘race’, social class and sexuality in ideological constructions of the Romanian national construct within Europe).

-          Moldova and the Romanian project: intersectional analyses of Romanian nationalist projections and conceptualizations of the Republic of Moldova/Bassarabia (gender, ethnicity/‘race’, social class and sexuality in ideological constructions of the Romanian national project).

-          Mediating ‘Romanianness’: intersectional analyses of media and their impact on Romanian society (gendered, ethnicized/‘racialized’ and class-based media representations).

-          In God we trust: intersectional analyses of religion, politics and traditionalist advances in Romanian society;

-          Out of sight, out of mind: intersectional analyses of marginalization and exclusion (gendered, ethnicized/‘racialized’ and class-based exclusion);

-          All roads lead to Rome: intersectional analyses of migration (gendered, ethnicized/‘racialized’ and class-based patterns of migration).

The language of panel presentations is planned to be English. Interested researchers, both senior and more junior scholars, are invited to submit their proposed paper titles, abstracts of up to 350 words, and short bios (200 words) in English to BOTH panel organizers Ov Cristian Norocel (cristian.norocel[at]helsinki.fi) and Oana Baluta (oana.baluta[at]fjsc.ro) – [at] to be replaced by @ – before 28 July 2014. We have decided to extend the deadline until 10 September 2014. Please write ‘SRS15 submission’ in the title of your e-mail.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Friday, June 20th, 2014 Research No Comments

When a #kikkelikuva Is Not a #snoppselfie and What Are the Consequences of That

There are not many MPs in today’s Finnish Parliament (Eduskunta/Riksdagen) that have been so often in the attention of the media, and even fewer have managed to galvanize more vehement reactions than the (True) Finn Teuvo Hakkarainen (PS/ Perussuomalaiset/ Sannfinländarna/ SF). Hakkarainen took the Finnish parliamentarism with storm as a result of the March 2011 elections that witnessed his election into the Eduskunta/ Riskdagen, and shortly thereafter made a name for himself for his mediatized rants against the Somali (Muslims) living in Finland, the Swedish-speaking Finnish minority, the LGBTQI-community – in short, against everyone and anyone not easily assimilated to the position of a heterosexual (true) Finnish-speaking Finn that he claimed to represent (for a brief update, see my previous blog entries here; and here). For such acts of (true) Finnish masculine bravery, Hakkarainen earned the distinction of ‘the Apostle of Genuineness‘ and swiftly dismissed any accusations of xenophobia and homophobia as mere misunderstandings of his sense of humor.

In this light, the latest incident may be understood to add a new layer to the complex masculinity performative embodied by Hakkarainen. To cut the long story short, on 13 March 2014 the entertainment magazine Seiska published a piece disclosing that Hakkarainen has been assiduously courting a woman, even sending her naked pictures of himself and close-ups of his sex organ from his work phone (in Finnish, tässä). The incident caused a lot of media attention and Hakkarainen issued a public apology. It was discussed not only in the Finnish yellow press – Ilta-sanomat (in Finnish, tässä) and Iltalehti (in Finnish, tässä); but also on the Finnish national TV network YLE (in Finnish, tässä; in Swedish, här) and the reputed Helsingin sanomat (in Finnish, tässä) and in the Swedish-speaking Finnish main newspaper Hufvudstadsbladet (in Swedish, här). On Twitter, the Swedish language hashtag #snoppselfie (in English something along the lines of ‘#willieselfie’) trended seriously, as well as the (somewhat) tamer equivalent in Finnish #kikkelikuva (in English, something like ‘#williepic’).

The chair of PS/SF parliamentary group Jari Lindström refused to comment on the event, indicating Hakkarainen‘s public statement concerning the incident. Indeed, Hakkarainen blamed the whole affair on his alcohol abuse and claimed it was part of a failed attempt to extortion. Even more so, according to a PS/SF fellow MPMika Niikko, Hakkarainen did not take the picture himself, but was in fact the victim of a ‘prank’ set up by ‘a friend’ (in Ilta-sanomat, in Finnish, tässä).

In other words, does the whole issue boil down to a (male) Finnish MP’s misfortune to find reliable friends, combined with his inability to deal with alcohol abuse? Does this indicate a toxic manifestation of masculinity widely spread within Finnish society that regards alcohol abuse as an inherent part of being a (Finnish) man? But do these alone justify the harassment that the woman in question was subject to (sending sexually explicit pictures surely do qualify as such) – an aspect not so much picked up on by the media? What if putting this incident in the wider context of significant level of violence against women (both physical and sexual but also psychological) in Finland (Helsinki Times news report, in English here; the FRA report , in English here)? Hakkarainen has gained his reputation of ‘Apostle of Genuineness‘ for his remarks that can be easily considered a manifestation of outright xenophobia, but also a sign of a populist homophobia; does his ‘genuineness’ include sexism as well in this context? Having in mind the coming EU elections later this spring, and despite the fact that the chair of the PS/SF parliamentary group does not consider this issue serious enough to address, do the Finnish voters have a right to know where does the PS/SF position itself on such issues? So far, Hakkarainen‘s previous remarks have been explained through references to his particular sense of humor and his famed ‘genuineness’. At the moment it appears his harassment of women is allegedly blamed on his entourage and alcohol abuse, so the question that comes forward is what and when would be considered to be the entire responsibility of the PS/SF MP Hakkarainen, and when would the PS/SF assume its responsibility in front of its electors for having such a representative in the Finnish Eduskunta/ Riksdagen?

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sunday, March 16th, 2014 Research No Comments

(Con-)testing and (Re-)Drawing the Political Boundaries: Acceptable and Unacceptable Political Performatives of Radical Right Populism(s) in the Nordic Context (DL: 15/01/14)

Workshop at XLVI FPSA Conference (soumeksi, tässä; på svenska, här) (6-7 March 2014, Tampere/Tammerfors)

There seems to an all too often blurred boundary line between what is acceptable and unacceptable in the political performatives (understood here to encompass all manners of communicative interaction pertaining to politics). A major line of disagreement is articulated around the commitment of political forces in the Nordic counties to address the multiple inequalities arising at the intersection of class, gender, ethnicity and/or race, sexuality, and religion in connection to contemporary socio-political transformations across Europe.

On this matter, radical right populist parties across the Nordic region appear to be most active in (con-)testing and (re-)drawing these political boundaries: from politicians writing offensive remarks about other religions on their personal blog with the admitted aim to test the limits of law, and high profile politicians that threaten people with an iron bar and shout racist and sexist slurs, to politicians that take pictures of far right acquaintances making the Nazi salute in the plenary of national parliament, and disillusioned party members that resort to violence against their political opponents. Some of the political performatives described above are eventually deemed unacceptable and lead to the ostracizing of the politician in question and condemnation of described political performative. However, some other political performatives lead to a dramatic redrawing of the boundary for what is deemed acceptable in the polity under scrutiny.

With this in mind, the workshop is envisaged to reunite papers that explore the radical right populist parties in the Nordic region with a particular attention being paid to those instances of (con-)testing and (re-)drawing  of the political boundaries, such as but not limited to: normalization of anti-immigration rhetoric and welfare chauvinist reasoning, support of the backlash against feminism, contestation of the participatory democratic structures, and utilizing violence as a means of solving political confrontations.

Keywords: inclusion/exclusion, state feminism/antifeminist backlash, radical right populism, democratic participation/political violence.

Workshop language: English

Paper abstracts shall be sent to BOTH workshop chair Cristian Norocel (cristian.norocel(at)helsinki.fi) and to FPSA Conference Secretary Maija Mattila (Maija.Mattila(at)uta.fi) before 15 January 2014.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013 Research No Comments