Edited by Angela Smith and Michael Higgins
[Journal of Language and Politics 19:1] 2020
► pp. 107–124
“We need to rediscover our manliness…”
The language of gender and authenticity in German right-wing populism
This essay analyses the use of the term “gender madness” and “lost manliness” in the discourse of the right-wing populist Alternative für Deutschland (AFD). It draws on analyses of public statements, policy papers, manifestos and public speeches. It argues that the “gender” theme constitutes a discoursive cluster that is used link otherwise eclectic policies. Furthermore, it is utilised to articulate certain folkish and ethno-nationalist ideas while at the same time helping to avoid open references to extremist language. By presenting itself as the custodian of traditional heterosexuality and family values the AFD creates yet another dimension of the populist dichotomy of “us” versus “them”. This is underpinned by a sophisticated media strategy that seeks create an image of authenticity and immediacy between party and supporters. On the whole, the piece analyses and explains the central importance of “anti-genderism” in the discourse of the populist right in Germany.