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"I Joined For My Grandchildren": Women in the AfD

Williams, Katherine Jane 2023. "I Joined For My Grandchildren": Women in the AfD. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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The resurgence of the populist radical right (PRR) across Europe and further afield has been the focus of much scholarly and media attention in recent decades. In the German context, the election of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) to the German federal parliament in 2017 represents a major turning point in the country’s domestic politics, where, since the end of the Second World War (WWII), the PRR and broader far right have largely been relegated to the fringes of the political mainstream. The high visibility of women in the AfD itself as well as the large numbers of women who appear to have voted for the party across Germany’s sixteen federal states has led to questions about what it means to be a gendered political subject in a changing world. Given the party’s seeming popularity among women, this thesis investigates the relevant socio-cultural, political, and historical factors which underpin their support for the AfD. Viewing women’s AfD support through a critical feminist poststructuralist lens, this thesis uses Foucauldian discourse analysis (FDA) to interpret the testimonies of 9 female AfD members interviewed in 2019, as well as relevant documentary sources. The thesis unpacks not just how and why women come to support the AfD, but where and when this support is located. In contrast to the dominant assumption that women do not find the ideas of the PRR appealing, this thesis shows that women’s AfD support is complex, multi-faceted, and located within a distinctly German discursive ecosystem. The thesis underlines the argument that it is important to engage directly with women in order to gain a deeper insight into their reasons for supporting the PRR, as well as assessing the influence of time, space, and place when it comes to navigating the tricky epistemological terrain of subject motivation.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Law
Subjects: J Political Science > JC Political theory
Uncontrolled Keywords: Alternative for Germany, AfD, gender, women, populist radical right, Islam, immigration, family politics, national identity, reunification, East Germany, extremism.
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 27 July 2023
Last Modified: 27 Jul 2023 10:59

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