The Role of Sexual Moral Panics in the Emergence of Right Wing Populist Movements in Europe

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 15:50
Oral Presentation
Imke SCHMINCKE, LMU Munich, Germany
Since the mass protests against the “marriage for all” in France in 2013 it has become clear that the politization of sexuality is one of the central features of emerging right wing populist groups and parties in Europe. Especially protests against sexual diversity and sex education present significant mobilizing factors for new conservative social movements. In the new right wing sexual politics, as I would call it, the notion of the endangered and vulnerable child is used for a specific kind of affective politics that builds on the force of sexual moral panics. My argument in this presentation is that sexual moral panics have become an important mobilizing tool for right wing populist discourses and movements. The focus of my analysis will be sexual moral panics around the ‘endangered child’ and sexuality. Right wing sexual politics try to defend conservative values and heteronormative hegemony. Whereas in Eastern Europe liberal values are equated with neoliberalism and are rejected on this ground, in Western Europe conservative groups also argue for an exclusively heterosexual marriage with respect to identity and the social order albeit without the anti-liberal twist. Apart from specific regional differences we can observe that the new right wing sexual politics succeeds in forging new alliances between different right wing groups and fractions. In my presentation I will primarily focus on right wing populist movements in Germany and their relation to sexual moral panics. For my case study I use the notion of moral panics in order to delineate a specific form of affective politics. In my conclusion I shall discuss the potentials and problems of this concept with respect to how we can understand the current success of right wing populist discourses.