conflict & communication online, Vol. 1, No. 1, 2002
ISSN 1618-0747







This thematic issue, "Right-wing Populism and National Identity," marks the first appearance of the journal conflict & communication online, whose chosen goal is to bring together and integrate theories, methodological approaches and empirical research under a peace science perspective.
A peace science perspective whose goal is the prevention and reduction of violence by non-violent means has to integrate findings of a variety of different disciplines which study conflict and/or communication. This requires, in our opinion, not only applied research on current and topical fields of conflict, but at the same time also the furthering of trans-disciplinary basic research which, on the one side, will seek generalizable results pointing beyond concrete case studies, and, on the other hand, can be validated on the basis of their linkage to praxis only. The spectrum of topics which will be presented in conflict & communication online consequently includes theoretical contributions, empirical studies and methodological discussions, as well as reflections on practical issues. It ranges from social-psychological small-group research to the study of both intra- and inter-state wars, from the analysis of interpersonal communication to mass communication research and from conflict management to journalism and new information technologies.
Right-wing populism and national identity are addressed in the present issue using the example of Austria, which provoked international headlines about two years ago when the FPÖ entered the government and drew sharp negative reactions from other EU countries. Even though relations between Austria and its EU partners have normalized in the meantime, the FPÖ government participation is not an issue that can simply be filed away and forgotten, in view of the unconcealed NS sympathies of its intellectual leader, Jörg Haider, and the party's openly xenophobic campaign in the National Assembly elections of October 1999. To the contrary, precisely the return to the European agenda poses the question of what sort of Europe we are actually steering toward. This is all the more the case since with Berlusconi's electoral victory a right-wing populist party has also achieved power in Italy, and populism represents a political style which has in the meantime begun to spread far beyond the right-wing parties. In Great Britain and Germany it has begun to appear typical of the governmental policies of Tony Blair's New Labour and Gerhard Schröder's SPD: Thus we can expect to be confronted with the topic more often in the future.
In this issue we deal first of all with the FPÖ and view it from three perspectives: In a political-science analysis, Anton Pelinka analyzes the FPÖ electoral victory under the framework conditions of the Austrian political system and Austrian society. By means of a content analytical study on the construction of national identity in Austrian print media from 1945 to 1995, Wilhelm Kempf shows how the Austrian press contributed to the intellectual climate which made possible the political rise of Haider; and on the basis of a discourse analysis of Erich Böhme's Haider talk show, Kerstin Stettner and Franz Januschek support the thesis that even the exposure of a (right-wing) populist is a component of populist discourse and not necessarily a means of fighting it.
Beyond this, this issue contains two free contributions whose topical focus is indirectly related: In a longitudinal study of the relationship between traditional differences and new demarcating identities in the Berlin linguistic community of the 90s, Irena Regener studies some socio-linguistic indicators of East-West German identities, and Ilhan Kizilhan researches, using the example of solidarity groups in East Anatolia, the dynamics of conflicts and conflict solutions in patriarchal communities.

Konstanz - Berlin - Toronto
January 2002

Wilhelm Kempf

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