Feeling (Alt)Right: Identitäts- und Affektpolitik der Online-Rechten (VolkswagenStiftung)

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Project Leader: Dr. Simon Strick

Founding amount: ca. 80,000 Euro

Funding Period: 2018-2019

The project investigates online-presences of the new or alt-right (US, UK, Germany, Austria). The movement's specific newness is their appropriation of progressive identity politicsrhetoric for their purpose: the re-fortification of unchallenged white male hegemony. The altright – informal network of ethnonationalists, antifeminists, and racists – thus presents a discursive guerilla, ironically employing liberal terminologies. The alt-right's modus operandi is to establish 'revolutionary' vocabularies fueling an 'alternative' reality, where white men figure as a 'marginalized group'.

The project discusses various internet cultures – Youtube, 4Chan or Reddit, and events like Gamergate – as the alt-right's stage rehearsals, where instruments and aesthetics of white male identity politics are groomed.

The central thesis states that the alt-right provides 'slanted' discursive positionalities and 'minority'- affects to its audiences. Commenting on feminism, multiculturalism, and democracy from a 'victim's perspective', the protagonists conjure 'just feelings of injury' as well as means of refracting the mainstream's alleged leftist consensus. The alt-right pursues an politics of feeling right – affective and argumentative templates for how to feel marginalized and oppressed by feminism, media, multiculturalism, or Europe.

A topography and cast-list of the alt-right will be developed, followed by an analysis of the alt-right's discursive aesthetics that perform victimization and resistance. The conclusion proposes interventionist strategies for the progressive left, both affect- and theory-driven.