Mnemonic Insecurity: The German Struggle with New Trends of Radicalization


Abstract


The so-called refugee crisis of the last years has presented Germany with a massive inflow of refugees and migrants. The scale has disrupted Germany’s self-narrative as open and tolerant state that has learned from its Nazi past. With local and national institutions not being prepared logistically, with media images portraying a nearly ‘overrun’ country, and with a significant upsurge in anti-migrant sentiments, a state of mnemonic insecurity has developed in Germany. Far-right political movements gathered strength and voter support, and right-wing extremist violence increased. On the other side, many people actively engaged in a ‘welcome culture’. The contribution traces key developments in Germany’s approach to the refugee crisis in the context of radicalization trends. It illustrates the dislocation of Germany’s identity and self-narrative in an emotionalized discourse, and the following acts to defend memory. It closes with current attempts at memory’s re-politicization to something larger than before.


Keywords: Mnemonic insecurity; Identity; Emotions; Radicalization; Germany

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