Oral Presentation Session - Cosponsored Status Awarded
Sponsored by: Association for the Anthropology of Policy
Cosponsored by: Society for the Anthropology of Europe
Of interest to: Practicing and Applied Anthropologists, Students
Primary Theme: Immigration/Migration/Citizenship
Secondary Theme: Race
In less than 30 years after democratic revolutions in Central and Eastern Europe, populist, far right and anti-European Union parties have either won elections or gained significant votes across the region. Anti-immigrant rhetoric and conservative notions of family values contributed greatly to their electoral successes. Populist and far right milieus protest loudly against hosting refugees and immigrants from Middle Eastern and African countries, often claiming that these “foreign” and “racially other” groups may threaten the fabric of the society, including women’s rights and safety, or LGBTQ rights. Some states explicitly warn against “Islamization” and therefore reject non-Christian refugees. Simultaneously, populist groups strongly oppose gender equality and reproductive and sexual rights. For example, conservative nationalist administrations in Poland and Hungary condemn contemporary approaches to understanding gender as sociocultural and political constructs by presenting them as a form of “family demise” and threats to the nation. Moreover, populists in this region tend to portray women’s or sexual rights as imposed by Western and European elites, attempting to destroy local identities based in the traditional gender order. The picture that is therefore emerging in this part of the world is that of growing racisms and (hetero)sexisms, emboldened by election outcomes.
This panel contributes to the anthropology scholarship on anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies, and “anti-genderism.” In recent years, anthropologists and other social scientists have analyzed extensively the region’s contemporary conflicts around migration/race and gender/sexuality, usually approaching them as two separate and distinct topics. This panel seeks to explore these lines of inquiry together.
Inspired by the conference themes of “Resistance, Resilience, and Adaptation,” this panel considers how racist anti-immigrant and anti-gender discourses, policies, and practices overlap, intersect, or interrelate in new populist rhetoric and governance in Central and Eastern Europe, and other post-Soviet regions, including Russia. This panel is composed of empirically grounded and theoretically informed studies tracing these intersections on variously levels such as policies, media, everyday life, religion, education, healthcare, expert discourses and civil society. We focus on analyses of mobilization and movements in favor or against populist causes, including growing racism, (hetero)sexisms, and other forms of exclusion and social justice issues.
Some of the questions this panel seeks to explore are:
What are the spaces of intersection between gender/sexuality and race/ethnicity in populist rhetoric and policies? How are anti-immigrant and “anti-genderism” discourses produced, maintained, and contested? What are the relationships between actors involved in anti-gender and anti-immigrant mobilization? What is a Central and Eastern European, or post-Soviet and post-socialist specificity, if any, of anti-immigrant rhetoric and anti-genderism? What are their historical, political, or cultural roots? What is the relationship between “traditional” xenophobia and patriarchal gender regimes? What are the new fears and anxieties underpinning and/or emerging from these contexts? What models of biopolitics, national identity, governance, moral economies, and discrimination emerge from the intersection of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality from these populist trends? How are these models contested? In what ways could anthropological knowledge contribute to resisting these trends and imagining a shared future?