Conference Agenda

RN18_03b: Nationalism, Populism and Euroscepticism
Wednesday, 21/Aug/2019:
4:00pm - 5:30pm

Session Chair: Raluca Petre, Ovidius University of Constanta
Location: UP.4.210
University of Manchester Building: University Place, Fourth Floor Oxford Road


Communicating Europe

Debora Marcucci, Albertina Pretto

University of Trento, Italy

Besides the territorial dimension, Europe is identified by people through an institutional and political figure: the European Union. This entity transmits (also through its constitutional institutions) its own image to European citizens, who have – or build – a positive or negative perception. This image might influence and contribute (or not) to the development of the bond that European citizens feel towards this supranational entity, a bond which is constantly instable.

Even in Italy, the tie towards Europe has undergone alternating phases in accordance to the economic and political contingencies, but recent surveys show that this tie is increasing. However, political parties with anti-Europeanist views are gaining a growing consensus: in March 2018, the winners of the Italian general election were two political parties that have always mistrusted Bruxelles and the Euro.

Our presentation will show the results of an ongoing research study: to better understand this phenomenon, we are analysing images of Europe that these parties promote and diffuse through their mass media, in comparison to the ones published by the EU. In the meantime, we are analysing also the representations of EU created by citizens, using the cartoons of the different editions of the contest “Una vignetta per l’Europa” (“A cartoon for Europe”), launched by the European Commission Representation in Italy in partnership with Internazionale and Voxeurop. Since the analysis is in progress, findings will be discussed just during the conference.

Alt-Right Populism and Reddit: An Analysis of Incels

Jacob Johanssen

University of Westminster, United Kingdom

My talk is based on preliminary data analysis from a research project on online misogyny on social media. I will focus on the Incel community. It consists of men who refer to themselves as ’involuntary celibate’, (or incel), because they have not engaged in romantic or sexual encounters for some time (or never in some cases). The analysis will draw on Sigmund Freud's theories of sexuality and unconscious fantasy as well as Klaus Theweleit’s theorisation of fascism and sexuality.

I present some exemplary discourses from Reddit forums. Many of the narratives are about naming women as sluts who are only interested in being with good looking men. Consequently, the users resort to symbolically destroying such women. This may give them a sense of agency over their own (libidinal) frustration. However, at the same time there are many narratives that show self-pity and a kind of self-destruction. Users describe how ugly they are, detail mental health conditions, and a general hatred of the world. Yet, such narratives are often coupled with a description of how they would like to be. Many posts discuss genetics, specific bodily shortcomings, and how cosmetic surgery and exercise can help. At the same time, the posts adopt Alt-Right discourses and imagery (such as specific terms and memes popularised by the Alt-Right). I am interested in further exploring this connection.

I therefore argue that the male fantasies of the Incel community bear some resemblance to Theweleit’s theorisation of the proto-fascist male body. A male body that destroys women, while at the same time appropriating them. A male body that is obsessed about its own embodiment and signs of masculine strength.

Nationalism and Euroscepticism discourse on Facebook in emerging countries. A case study on Romania

Adriana Ștefănel

Universitatea din București, Romania

As Romania’s European route become a certitude, the nationalist discourse has blurred; while being considered outdated and (dis)regarded as a nationalist-communist relic. The 2007 EU enlargement was perceived by Romanian citizens not as an opportunity but as an act of geostrategic justice (Tismăneanu, V., 1999) that reinstated the country where it rightfully belonged – in Europe, not in the vicinity of Russia.

At present, the trust in EU of Romanians is still high (50% in 2018, cf. EU90) but slowly and constantly decreasing. Although nationalist and Eurosceptic parties have not yet reached the quota required for Parliament, the usage of the nationalist features is traceable in mainstream parties’ discourses and has made its way up to national elections. Moreover, the nationalist and Euroscepticism rhetoric of Facebook users (“2.0 citizens”) seems more articulate than ever.

Following Wodak’s work (Wodak, R., De Cillia, R., Reisigl, M. & Liebhart, K. (2009), , the paper aims is to analyse the increase of the rhetoric of nationalism in the 2.0 Romanian public sphere. We intend to identify and measure the presence of the mythical structures associated with the nationalism and Euroscepticism in the posts of regular Facebook users, in a longitudinal perspective and in a quantitative manner.

Tismăneanu, Vladimir (1998) 'Fantasies of Salvation: Democracy, Nationalism, and Myth in Post-Communist Europe' Princeton University Press

Wodak, R. & Boukala, S. (2015) ‘European Identities and the Revival of Nationalism in the European Union ‐ a Discourse‐Historical Approach’, J Language & Politics Special issue, Journal of Language and Politics 14

Romanian Protests from 10 to 12 August 2018. The Radiography of a Momentum of the Romanian Hyber-Nation

Madalina Balasescu

University of Bucharest / Faculty of Journalism and Communication Studies, Romania

10-12 August 2019 protests represent, within almost 30 years of post-communism, a significant Momentum in Romanian history close to 90s’ miners’ events, Club Colectiv fire tragedy, anti-Government protests from 2012 etc. The protests were marked by violence and multi-level confrontations, had large echo in Romanian and international press and still produce impact: on 17-th January 2019, one TV that reported anti-governmental was sanctioned by 10 minutes of no broadcast.

The protests may be, sociologically, considered as a concentrate of the Romanian society nowadays: polarized, still marked by physical violence and symbolic as well, by social discomfort and frustration caused by ineffective and incoherent governmental policies at systemic-structural level. In gestalt terms, the protest contains the repressed needs of collective mentality, accumulated in the past three decades of communism.

The research proposes to design a radiography of those acute social manifestations of august 2018 referring to the social content of the narrative texture within their media coverage. The theoretical framework is based on: structural-systemic tools from the sociological approach (development model, social narration approach); gestalt theory and social psychology conceptualizations; constructivism and public agenda fundaments of the mediatic perspective.

Methodology: quantitative-qualitative content analysis (products/texts/speeches: media, social networking, institution, authority) and interviews (participants, journalists). The expected results are organized around getting in-depth explanations and clarifications concerning: the protests as narration, the social issues involved, the mass media role in the construction of the events in national and internationally public space.

The protests radiography can give a consistent idea about the relevant valences of limits and decks of the Romanian - European identity relationship.