Leaving hate behind – Neo-Nazis, Significant Others and disengagement
Univeristy of Gothenburg, Sweden
The purpose of the study is to contribute to the oral history of disengagement processes of former neo-Nazis. Our main aim is to take a holistic approach to the stories. This means that we intend to situate the narratives in relation to significant others – such as teachers, parents, and others – in order to contextualize the individual stories. Although there are ample evidence for the importance of the relationship factor, most studies in this field of research have focused exclusively on the individual life stories. This one-sided focus tends to contribute to the construction of a highly individualized narrative of disengagement processes. Research has shown that disengagement from extremist movements often are preceded by individual’s disillusionment with the movement, but there is also a need for timing for the individual to reconnect with others outside the movement to share his or her doubts. There is, however, scarce research findings on how this process is understood and talked about among the significant others. The empirical material of the study consists of three case studies. Each case story contains a condensed narrative of the neo-Nazis own perception of push and pull factors. In addition to this, voices of significant others are added, and analyzed. The results show that disengagement can be understood as a combination of fateful moments and “interventions” by significant others. The nonjudgmental attitudes among these significant others are rooted in their lived experiences of handling individuals grievances.
Will Europeans Overcome Antidemocratic, Populist Nationalism?
Warsaw University, Poland
The question about the state of democracy and the European Union is my starting point. It is the growing tendency toward nationalist, antidemocratic and autocratic governments, and nationalistic populism, which good examples are Poland, Hungary, but also Italy. What are the main factors, driving people to accept populist, autocratic nationalists? I’d like to explore the factors, similar for both East and West and peculiar to East Europe. First of all, the deep ties between the nationalistic ideology and anti-Semitism, and xenophobic world views. I’d like to illustrate the case of Poland as a possible pattern for other societies. Secondly, the return of traditional religious customs, and conservative attitudes as parts of an antidemocratic tendency should be analyzed. The role of churches in this process is important. The third issue is the anti-European Union tendency. My thesis is about the crisis of democratic leadership. After the 2008 economic crisis, the credibility of “neo-liberalism” and multiculturalism was undermined, but the political elites engaged in resolving the crisis, not reconstructed the vision of the future. The radical leftists and right-wing groups supported the revitalization of the nationalistic, anti-Semitic, xenophobic, and anti-EU tendencies. Although most Poles are rather enthusiastic about the EU, we can observe how the nationalistic orientation is changing peoples' attitudes. It could illustrate a more general trend. On the other hand, autocratic, populist nationalism activates citizens' attitudes, and acceptance for democracy grew in Eastern Europe during last few years. It also could be a good indicator for the rest of Europe. Lastly, I’ll reflect on the ties between anti-Semitic attitudes and anti-Islamic, anti- Arab attitudes.
Construction of Alternative History: Discourse Analysis of the ‘Day of Honour’
Department of Sociology and Social Policy,University of Debrecen, Hungary
The presentation discusses a significant aspect of the Hungarian neo-nationalist movement building on discourse analysis and participant observation. More precisely, the Day of Honour, a highly performative action organised by Hungarian neo-nationalist groups, is to be investigated throughout the analysis of speeches, symbolic actions and aiming to create a collectivist alternative of historical memory. The Day of Honour has been organised since 1995 in remembrance of the break-out of the German and Hungarian soldiers at the very end of the siege of Buda Castle in February 1945 attempting to reach out to the German front. Following the constructivist approach, neo-nationalist identity constructions and memory are understood as products of discursive actions. Drawing on three years of participant observation at the Day of Honour the presentation aims to classify the most significant mechanism related to the neo-nationalist identity constructions in relation to the event such as the process of the construction of historical narrative, internationalisation of neo-nationalist and neo-Nazi movements, and the role of the creation of 'enemies' as the basis of oppositional collective identities shaped by discursive techniques. Both the positive “us” and negative “they” constructions are not pre-existing social phenomena but they are created through discourses. Furthermore, the lack of public discourses on the past as a more general contextual deficiency is also outlined as a key factor, which contributes, inter alia, to this alternative historical narrative.
Ethnically devided city: the case of Kosovska Mitrovica
University of Pristina, Kosovska Mitrovica, Serbia
In the case of the ethnically divided city of Kosovska Mitrovica, the text examines the factors that favor the survival of the division of the city on ethnic basis. For this purpose, the important events in which cultural differences are politically mobilized will be analyzed for the purpose of raising ethnic borders. Kosovska Mitrovica has been an ethnically divided city for twenty years, and during that period of time the ethnic boundaries were more or less permeable. Cultural differences that are mutually tolerated become problematic in certain situations and lead to raising boundaries towards another ethnic group. Therefore, the aim of this paper is to determine in what situations the boundaries of a sharp ethnic division are raised, and through which mechanisms the borders are established. In addition to the above, the text will show how the cultural contact between the two nations looks like in the period of lowering of borders, but also in the period of raising them. This phenomenon has been observed from the perspective of the tellers - the inhabitants of the northern part of the city, who in general represent the party that insists on the division.
Key words: Kosovska Mitrovica, ethnicity, divided city, political conflicts, nation