The Politics of Fear: What Right-Wing Populist Discourses Mean

SAGE
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Winner of the Austrian Book Prize for the 2016 German translation, in the category of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Populist right-wing politics is moving centre-stage, with some parties reaching the very top of the electoral ladder: but do we know why, and why now?

In this book Ruth Wodak traces the trajectories of such parties from the margins of the political landscape to its centre, to understand and explain how they are transforming from fringe voices to persuasive political actors who set the agenda and frame media debates. Laying bare the normalization of nationalistic, xenophobic, racist and antisemitic rhetoric, she builds a new framework for this ‘politics of fear’ that is entrenching new social divides of nation, gender and body.

The result reveals the micro-politics of right-wing populism: how discourses, genres, images and texts are performed and manipulated in both formal and also everyday contexts with profound consequences. This book is a must-read for scholars and students of linguistics, media and politics wishing to understand these dynamics that are re-shaping our political space.

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About the author

Ruth Wodak is Distinguished Professor of Discourse Studies at Lancaster University. Her research interests focus on discourse studies; identity politics; racism, antisemitism and other forms of discrimination; and on ethnographic methods of linguistic field work.

She was awarded the Wittgenstein Prize for Elite Researchers in 1996 and an Honorary Doctorate from University of Örebro in Sweden in 2010. She has held visiting professorships in University of Uppsala, Stanford University, University Minnesota, University of East Anglia, and Georgetown University (Washington, DC). She is a member of the British Academy of Social Sciences and a member of the Academia Europaea. In 2008, she was awarded the Kerstin Hesselgren Chair of the Swedish Parliament (at University Örebrö).


Ruth is co-editor of the SAGE journal Discourse & Society, and of the journals Critical Discourse Studies and Journal of Language and Politics. Recent book publications include: The discourse of politics in action:Politics as Usual’ (2011), Critical Discourse Analysis (4 volumes, 2013), Migration, Identity and Belonging (with G. Delanty and P. Jones, 2011), The Discursive Construction of History: Remembering the German Wehrmacht’s War of Annihilation (with H. Heer, W. Manoschek, and A. Pollak, 2008), The Politics of Exclusion: Debating Migration in Austria (with M. Krzyzanowski, 2009), The SAGE Handbook of Sociolinguistics (with B. Johnstone and P. Kerswill, 2010), Analyzing Fascist Discourse: Fascism in Talk and Text (with J. E. Richardson, 2013), and Rightwing Populism in Europe: Politics and Discourse (with M. KhosraviNik and B. Mral, 2013).

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Additional Information

Publisher
SAGE
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Published on
Sep 21, 2015
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Pages
256
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ISBN
9781473914179
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Language Arts & Disciplines / Communication Studies
Political Science / Political Ideologies / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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After Stalin's death, during a respite in Cold War tensions in 1955, Austria managed to rid itself of a quadripartite occupation regime and become a neutral state. As the Cold War continued, Austria's policy of neutrality helped make this small country into an important mediator of East-West differences, and neutrality became a crucial part of Austria's postwar identity. In the post-Cold War era Austrian neutrality seems to demand redefinition. The work addresses such issues as what neutrality means when Austria's neighbors are joining NATO? What is the difference between Austrian neutrality in 1955 and 2000? In remaining apart from NATO, do Austrian elites risk their nation's national security? Is Austria a "free rider," too stingy to contribute to Western defense? Has the neutralist mentalit become such a crucial part of Austrian postwar identity that its abandonment will threaten civil society? These questions are addressed in this latest in the prestigious Contemporary Austrian Studies series.

The volume emerged from the Wittgenstein Research Center project on "Discourse, Politics, and Identity," an interdisciplinary investigation of the meaning of Austrian neutrality. The first two chapters analyze the current meaning of Austrian neutrality. Karin Liebhart records narrative interviews with former presidents Rudolf Kirchschlger and Kurt Waldheim, both central political actors present at the creation and implementation of Austria's postwar neutrality. Gertraud Benke and Ruth Wodak provide in-depth analysis of a debate on Austrian National Television on "NATO and Neutrality," a microcosm of Austrian popular opinion that exposed all positions and ideological preferences on neutrality. The historian Oliver Rathkolb surveys international perceptions of Austrian neutrality over the past half-century. For comparative contrast David Irwin and John Wilson apply Foucault's theoretical framework to the history and debates on neutrality in Ireland. Political scientists Heinz Grtner and Paul Luif provide examples of how Austrian neutrality has been handled in the past and today. Michael Gehler analyzes Austria's response to the Hungarian crisis of 1956 and Klaus Eisterer reviews the Austrian legation's handling of the 1968 Czechoslovak crisis.

Gnter Bischof is professor of history and executive director of Center Austria at the University of New Orleans. Anton Pelinka is professor of political science at the University of Innsbruck and director of the Institute of Conflict Research in Vienna. Ruth Wodak is professor in the linguistics department at the University of Vienna and director of the research center "Discourse, Politics, Identity" at the Austrian Academy of Science.

In many European countries the extreme right have refined their electoral programmes under the rubric of nationalist-populist slogans and have adopted subtle forms of racism. The move away from overt neo-fascist discourse has, allowed these parties to expand their electoral support as populist nationalist parties. Paradoxically, this has led to an increase in racist and anti-Semitic discourse. In this on-site analysis, Michal Krzyzanowski and Ruth Wodak describe a confluence of racism and xenophobia, and show how that union creates a new kind of racism. The "new" racism differs from the older kinds in that it is usually not expressed in overtly racial terms. Instead, the justifications that are typically employed concern protecting jobs, eliminating abuse of welfare benefits, or cultural incompatibilities. The new racism exploits xenophobia rooted in ethnocentrism, male chauvinism, and ordinary prejudices that are often unconscious or routinized. For these reasons, the new racism can be defined as "syncretic," a mixture of many, sometimes contradictory, racist and xenophobic beliefs and stereotypes. Racism as ideology and practice is alive and well. This important book aims to provide understanding of the many socio-political and historical processes involved in such expressions of institutional and individual racism--processes which are not necessarily evident from more overt or traditional expressions of racism. This is an innovative look at the political study of language as well as new instances of race, ethnicity, and class in present-day Europe.
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