Fear – Rage – Indignation. Analysing Right-Wing Movements

Monday, 16 July 2018: 11:00
Oral Presentation
Veronika MAGYAR-HAAS, University of Zürich, Switzerland
Sociological diagnoses formulated in the last decades, that even in economically powerful, prosperous Western societies the social inequality is continuously increasing. Through the constantly widening gap between rich and poor not just people from the underclass but even from the middleclass have the feeling of being disadvantaged. According to such scientific analyses and medial representations, they feel fear: they don’t feel safe, they feel limited in their self-development and opportunities for social advancement (Bude 2014).

With this feeling the new right movements, like the ‹identity movement› in Austria or ‹Pegida› in Germany, as well as right-wing populist parties legitimate their rejection, rage and resentments against refugees and migrants. The German sociologist Ulrich Bröckling (2016) argues, that it is the affect of fear as well as of fear-communication, which immunises against facts. Rhetoric of fear works with several scenarios of threats.

With respect to approaches in sociology of emotions, the feelings of fear and rage, produced by populist talks, will be put in relation to each other. Then, the paper outlines conceptual differences between rage and indignation. Against this backdrop, strategies of medial and populist generation of fear will be analysed. It will be asked, which forms of social indignation and countermovements to populist trends can be observed. The emotionalised dealing with questions of identity serves as a core aspect while analysing left- and right-wing social movements: Which kinds of identities and belongings will be valued, adjured, and rejected? In order to handle these questions, the contribution refers to findings about post-identity protests (Marchart 2004).

Bröckling, U. (2016): Man will Angst haben. In: Mittelweg 36 (6), pp. 3-7.

Bude, H. (2014): Gesellschaft der Angst. Hamburger Edition. [Society of Fear. Polity 2017]

Marchart, O. (2004): New Protest Formations and Radical Democracy. In: Peace Review. A Journal of Social Justice 16(4), pp. 415-420.