Where AfD is (not) strong

Lecture given by Bernd Belina at the Humboldt University of Berlin

The electoral success of the AfD is marked by three spatial patterns. It is stronger in east Germany than in west German, within east and west it is stronger in southern parts than in northern parts, and finally, it is stronger in municipalities with fewer inhabitants that in municipalities with more inhabitants. Making sense of the last pattern is at the center of this talk. Instead of referring back to the county-city-divide, it proposes to use the notions of urbanization (Lefebvre), provinciality (Adorno) and, finally, anti-politics, understood as a mode of making political claims that negates arguments, negotiations, and compromise and instead starts from absolute, non-negotiable positions. The talk argues that right-wing populism becomes a political project by, among other things, using anti-political subjectivations; that provinciality, understood as conscious or unconscious unreflectedness, is the opposite of the urban and therefore the breeding ground for anti-politics; and that the urban and provinciality both can be found in city and country alike, but that provinciality is more likely to materialize beyond metropolitain areas.

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