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Landscapes of ‘othering’ in postwar and contemporary Germany:the limits of the ‘culture of contrition’ and the poverty of the mainstream

Kallis, Aristotle (2012) Landscapes of ‘othering’ in postwar and contemporary Germany:the limits of the ‘culture of contrition’ and the poverty of the mainstream. Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism, 12 (2). pp. 387-407.

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Abstract

In the 1930s the National Socialist regime embarked on a chillingly ambitious and fanatical project to ‘remake’ German society and ‘race’ by deploying a peerless – in both kind and intensity – repertoire of ‘othering’ strategies and measures directed at the Jews, the Sinti/Roma, and non-conformist groups within the Third Reich. At the heart of this campaign was the notion of a ‘zero-sum’ confrontation between the nation/race and its perceived ‘enemies’: namely, that the existence of these ‘enemies’ within German society threatened the very foundations of the German ‘race’ and posed the gravest threat to its mere survival. To what extent can the experience of the 1930s aggressive, violent, and eventually murderous ‘zero-sum’ mindset provide crucial insights into contemporary discourses of ‘othering’, linked with the European radical-populist right but increasingly ‘infecting’ the social and political mainstream? The contemporary ‘ethno-pluralist’ framing of the discussion divulges the persistence of a similar ‘zero-sum’ mentality that is nurtured by socio-economic and cultural insecurity, on the one hand, and powerful long-standing prejudices against particular groups, on the other. The article explores this ‘zero-sum’ insecurity mindset in the anti-immigration ‘mainstream’ discourses in the Federal Republic of Germany, both before and after re-unification. It demonstrates how – in contrast to the postwar ‘culture of contrition’ with regard to the memory of the Holocaust – this mindset continues to be a powerful political and psychological refuge for societal insecurities that has an enduring appeal to significant audiences well beyond the narrow political constituencies of the radical right.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D839 Post-war History, 1945 on
Departments: Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences > History
ID Code: 54879
Deposited By: ep_importer_pure
Deposited On: 06 Jun 2012 11:12
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 09 Apr 2014 23:36
Identification Number:
URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/54879

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