Not every act of violence against minorities can be clearly attributed to a homogeneous form of right-wing populism, misanthropy or a "non-democratic attitude". The challenge for peace psychology and peace education is to view (new) discriminatory relationships and the motives behind them in a differentiated way. For example, the following questions need to be addressed: Which (collective) subjects are disarticulated from democratic values and ideals such as freedom and equality, tolerance and solidarity at the level of attitudes and behaviour? Which cultural, historical and discursive constellations, on the one hand, and which cognitive and emotional dispositions, on the other hand, are connected with the fact that acknowledgments of democratic values are completely absent or do not manifest themselves in corresponding practice, or that democracy is even met with scepticism overall? Which factors, can counteractively lead to the promotion of democracy and human rights orientations and thus contribute to 'Project Peace'?
This issue brings together contributions by authors based on lectures and discussions on these various topics at the 32nd conference of the Forum for Peace Psychology (University of Salzburg, 14-16 June 2019).
Right-wing populism – anti-Semitism – democratic attitudes in the migration society
In her systematic overview of the state of populism research, Julia Schnepf focuses on the characteristics of right-wing populist rhetoric and its potential effects on migrants and non-migrants. The results of her analysis illustrate how insincere patterns of argumentation firstly encourage the development of prejudice among "natives", secondly cause increased fear and loss of trust among people with a migration background and thirdly, thus contribute to the construction of social distance in the first place.
In his contribution, Wilhelm Kempf elaborates on different varieties of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism that have their roots in differently constituted collective memories. The empirical results of his study show that anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist attitudes are more widespread among Muslims in Germany than among persons with other beliefs; however, they are based on different attitudes and cultural memories. Moreover, with regard to non-Muslim Germans, it can be stated that anti-Semitic and anti-Islamic attitudes are of similar structure and often go hand in hand.
In their study, Veronika Zimmer and Margit Stein deal with the question of what attitudes young people with and without a migration background have towards new immigration and xenophobia. Regression analyses show that the study participants express fewer concerns about new immigration than about the increase in xenophobia. Inter-ethnic friendships in particular have made a decisive contribution to reducing both of these fears.
Wolfgang Frindte, Stephanie Wohlt and Kirsten Richter examine the attitudes of young people towards participation and democratic values, taking into account a variety of possible predictors. A central result of their analyses is that the existence of democratic and participatory conditions in family and school facilitate the development of attitudes in favour of democracy and immunise against anti-democratic ideas.
Based on extensive data material, Madlen Preuß examines the viability of the Eliasian concept of established-outsider-configurations for empirical peace research. Her findings make it clear that, in addition to authoritarianism, social dominance orientation and anomie, the assumption of an established status is a further explanatory factor for the emergence of group-focused animosity and the emergence of inter-group conflicts.
Media discourses – political emotions – justice
In her contribution, Ricarda Gugg outlines how some basic guidelines can be realisedfor the scholarly investigation of the media representation of value discourses in migration society. Based on the result that in older texts the 'headscarf' is treated rather marginally, whereas in more recent texts it seems to have established itself as the central topos, the demand for further critical analyses on ideological and racist biases in media coverage is emphasized.
Wassilios Baros, Maximilian Sailer and Gwennaëlle Mulliez present the results of a latent class analysis on subjective positions of recipients on four variants of a newspaper article entitled "Citizens react against asylum accommodations – Seehofer concerned". The central result of their study is that the relatively distanced visualisation of antagonisms in reporting increases the probability of recipients' reflective considerations about dissent in migration society being conveyed by the media, and can thus prove to be a component of critical migration journalism.
The study by Thomas Theurer deals with the significance of emotions in subjective positions on discourses of asylum policy. Contrary to the assumption that a high frequency of outraged statements about the politics of the ‘welcoming culture’ is a distinctive feature of right-wing populism, the results of the study show that scepticism about immigration and indifference towards human rights as elements of right-wing populist discourses are articulated predominantly without the expression of attributive emotions. For further research on political emotions, it therefore seems promising to focus less on the quantity and more on the intentional objects of emotionalized speech acts. A decisive causal factor for flight migration from the global South is to be seen in global economic coherencies and the consumer habits of the 'North'. In her study, Isabel Strubel examines arguments for the decision to consume fairly and highlights the importance of the affective level of justice motives. According to her findings, a key role is played by indignation, which is evoked as a moral emotion due to the knowledge of global inequalities in food production.
Salzburg, July 2020
Thomas Theurer & Wassilios Baros
The guest editors:Thomas Theurer, MA, is university assistant and PhD student at Salzburg University, Department of Educational Research. Research interests: political education, educational migration research, socio-scientific research on emotions.
Wassilios Baros is Professor of educational research at the Paris-Lodron University in Salzburg and heads the project group Empirical Migration Research (PREMISA). His research interests include migration and political education research, latent style analyses of communication cultures, and recipient research.
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