“Islamization of the Occident”. Fear of Islam as a Mobilizing Force of the European New Right
Diefenbach, Aletta; Scheve, Christian von – 2021
Recent research has investigated the emotional underpinnings of support for populist New Right parties and movements. Some of these works focus on the supply-side of New Right support, emphasizing specific political styles and discourses, whereas others emphasize 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 regards to emotions. The present study sets out to acquire a more detailed understanding of the emotional narratives and experiences of supporters of New Right parties and movements, 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, this collective “We” is perceived to be threatened by cultural differences and changing majority-minority relations with respect to five domains of social life: demography, the liberal democratic order, public majority culture, security, and welfare.