CFP: [International] The State and âthe Othersâ: Reacting to Xenophobia

full name / name of organization: 
Rebecca Pates
contact email: 

“Nationally liberated zones”, “violence against foreigners”, “radicalisation of youth”: Right-wing
radicalism has been drawing a great deal of attention from the media, civil society protagonists,
and social scientists. A dramatic increase in incidences of violence against perceived minorities
and of youthful votes for right-wing parties in East Germany has included debate on the possible
causes, which range from the masculinisation of the East, to the inherent attraction of right-wing
parties, to the disenchantment of East Germans with the “system” â€" and not least, to the
normalcy of right-wing perspectives within larger spheres of the local population, notably,
concerning the discursive production of “the other”.

This “moral panic” is occurring at the same time as the importance of the state is said to be
waning â€" due to decreased social spending, international changes in sovereignty, the weakened
bonds of citizenship, and so on: it is thus said to become less effective in tackling endemic social
problems. Nevertheless, as the state still claims the sole legitimate use of force, phenomena like
“nationally liberated zones” â€" also called “no-go areas for visible minorities” â€" produce a
fundamental problem that state authorities must tackle. In prevention programmes, approaches
against right-wing cultures vary and so do outcomes: it seems as if in some cases anti-racist
training serves to intensify participants’ racist attitudes.

We would like to initiate a discussion concerning the perception of right-wing radicalism in the
discourses of state protagonists and in mass-media discourse.

The conference “The State and “the Others: Reacting to Xenophobia” will try to serve as a
condensation of the discussions and research results on these topics, particularly within the
European context. The focus here is
1.) on constructions of “the other” in recruitment areas for right-wing parties on the one hand,
2.) on the possibilities of changing right-wing attitudes through state (or state-sponsored)
institutions in a comparative perspective.

We want to compare and discuss different ways of dealing with radicalism in EU countries,
different premises under which this problem can be seen and the sort of subject formation that
is connected with the different approaches. We assume that strategies of preventing racism
should imply an analysis of the construction of “the other” in the corresponding discourse to be

Please send your abstract of 700 words while specifying which (if any) of the following streams
you are addressing:

Stream 1: State Policies: What concepts exist on how, and why, right-wing movements are to be
prevented? What is problematised and how is it solved?

Stream 2: Prevention programmes: What training programmes against right-wing youth cultures
exist, how are they implemented, what conceptions of “right-wing” and “the other” are used?

Stream 3: Right-wing cultures: What concepts of “the foreign”/”the other” prevail, how do these
legitimise marginalisation, what is being problematised?

Contributors are invited to prepare a presentation of 25 min, which will be followed by a
discussion period of another 20 minutes. The conference will take place in Leipzig on March
11-13, 2008. Please address your abstracts by October 22, 2007 to

Susanna Karawanskij
Rebecca Pates
Daniel Schmidt

Dept. of Political Science
Leipzig University
Beethovenstr. 15
04107 Leipzig

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Received on Tue Sep 25 2007 - 09:24:28 EDT