Walls, Boundaries, and Borders:Inclusion, Exclusion, and the Racialization of Space1

Wodak, Ruth (2023) Walls, Boundaries, and Borders:Inclusion, Exclusion, and the Racialization of Space1. In: Texts and Practices Revisited. Taylor and Francis, Oxford, pp. 81-98. ISBN 9781032225128

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Nativism and related body politics advocate a redefined, narrow conception of solidarity, i.e., governments should prioritize their ‘own pure’ citizens and promote and protect their well-being and welfare. In this way, authoritarian sentiments and tendencies of ‘the people’ could be addressed and mobilized. The consequence of such body politics is the explicit racialization of discourses and accompanying practices (Yuval-Davis 2019, 73-4). Such practices focus on notions of different cultures, religions, and traditions, which are perceived to ‘contaminate’ or ‘overwhelm’ the cultural ‘essence’ of the nation (Wodak 2019). Subsequently and simultaneously, a politics of ‘collective threat’ is able to trigger deep resentments and fear towards both professional elites and minorities (Bonikowski 2019, 201). Indeed, a range of economic, cultural, and social changes drives the rise of the far right, increasing the resonance of ethno-nationalist, racist, misogynist, and authoritarian claims. One factor, however, remains constant and resilient: the fear of strangers related to vehement nativist nationalism built on the populist myth of a quasi-homogenous nation state which has to be preserved and protected against (usually fictive) external or internal dangers. Denying the rapid change from relatively homogenous nation states to diverse, multicultural and multi-ethnic societies lies at the core of such beliefs (Wodak 2021, 62, 116). It is therefore not surprising that we are experiencing a revival of the Volk and the Volkskörper in the separatist rhetoric of far-right populist parties. At the same time, very real walls of stone, brick, and cement are also being constructed to keep out the ‘Others’, who are defined as different and deviant. Body politics are therefore integrated with border politics - in what could be labelled as the racialization of space (Wodak 2020a, 2021). In this chapter, I will primarily analyze the exclusionary rhetoric of the conservative mainstream in asylum and migration policies which has shamelessly normalized far-right ideologies. Specifically euphemisms, quasi-rational legitimation strategies, and fallacious analogies have become - inter alia - part and parcel of what Wilhelm Heitmeyer (2018) calls ‘coarse civility’ (rohe Bürgerlichkeit) and which has made nativist body politics more and more acceptable.

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Publisher Copyright: © 2023 selection and editorial matter, Carmen Rosa Caldas- Coulthard and Malcolm Coulthard; individual chapters, the contributors.
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27 Jul 2023 08:45
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17 Sep 2023 04:13