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The Politics of Fear


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Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Populism and Politics: Transgressing Norms and Taboos Chapter 2: Theories and Definitions: The Politics of Identity Chapter 3: Protecting Borders and the People: The Politics of Exclusion Chapter 4: Language and Identity: The Politics of Nationalism Chapter 5: Antisemitism: The Politics of Denial Chapter 6: Performance and the Media: The Politics of Charisma Chapter 7: Gender and the Body Politic: The Politics of Patriarchy Chapter 8: Mainstreaming: The Normalization of Exclusion

About the Author

Ruth Wodak is Distinguished Professor of Discourse Studies at Lancaster University. Her research interests focus on discourse studies; identity politics; racism, antisemitism and other forms of discrimination; and on ethnographic methods of linguistic field work. She was awarded the Lebenswerk-Preis in 2018, which honors outstanding life work of personalities who are promoting and achieving gender equality. She was awarded the Wittgenstein Prize for Elite Researchers in 1996 and an Honorary Doctorate from University of OErebro in Sweden in 2010. She has held visiting professorships in University of Uppsala, Stanford University, University Minnesota, University of East Anglia, and Georgetown University (Washington, DC). She is a member of the British Academy of Social Sciences and a member of the Academia Europaea. In 2008, she was awarded the Kerstin Hesselgren Chair of the Swedish Parliament (at University OErebroe). Ruth is co-editor of the SAGE journal Discourse & Society, and of the journals Critical Discourse Studies and Journal of Language and Politics. Recent book publications include: The discourse of politics in action: `Politics as Usual' (2011), Critical Discourse Analysis (4 volumes, 2013), Migration, Identity and Belonging (with G. Delanty and P. Jones, 2011), The Discursive Construction of History: Remembering the German Wehrmacht's War of Annihilation (with H. Heer, W. Manoschek, and A. Pollak, 2008), The Politics of Exclusion: Debating Migration in Austria (with M. Krzyzanowski, 2009), The SAGE Handbook of Sociolinguistics (with B. Johnstone and P. Kerswill, 2010), Analyzing Fascist Discourse: Fascism in Talk and Text (with J. E. Richardson, 2013), and Rightwing Populism in Europe: Politics and Discourse (with M. KhosraviNik and B. Mral, 2013).


Professor Wodak's new book continues a long and eminent trajectory of research on racism, anti-Semitism, xenophobia and patriarchy. This specific book is especially timely because it describes and explains in great detail the discursive and social mechanisms of the growing influence of extremist right-wing ideologies, policies and politics in Europe. This is Critical Discourse Analysis at its best. -- Teun A van Dijk This is an outstanding book. Ruth Wodak has managed to address a very wide range of countries, right-wing parties and political genres, but without sacrificing detailed and rigorous analysis. Vital reading, for students and scholars of politics and critical discourse analysis. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. -- John Richardson Ruth Wodak's timely new book is both politically and intellectually important. Using close linguistic analysis and impressively deep political insight, Wodak takes apart the strategies, rhetoric and half-truths of today's right-wing populists. All who are disturbed by current political trends in Europe and America should read The Politics of Fear. -- Michael Billig European right wing populist parties insistently claim their 'normality' and have become so common place that many are tempted to believe them. In this context, with her trademark rigour and precision, Wodak gives us a fascinating insight into what makes their discourse so unique and so different from their rivals. Her compelling analysis of the linguistic construction of scapegoats and of the 'arrogance of ignorance' will influence our understanding of right wing extremism for a long time to come. -- Michael Bruter With an assured hand, Ruth Wodak takes readers into the darker corners of right-wing populism today. Complimenting her analysis of exclusionary discourse and ideology are a series of isolated key statements by leading ideologues, as well as 15 localised vignettes revealing the diverse ways in which far right parties aim to gain legitimation through scapegoating, faux-authenticity, and oftentimes hypocritical hostility to elites. The result is a finely balanced study; one that is both accessible and scholarly rigorous. The Politics of Fear's shrewd discussion of a resurgent nationalism, xenophobia and chauvinism in diverse European and American context is timely, wide-ranging and highly recommended. -- Prof. Matthew Feldman In a masterful synthesis, Ruth Wodak combines argumentation theory, rhetorical and discourse-historical analysis to the resurgent discourses of right-wing populism, racism, sexism and xenophobia in Europe and the US. A highly topical insight into and inditement of the politics of fear and exclusionism! -- Andreas Musolff The Politics of Fear is essential reading for anyone wishing to understand the rise of right wing populist parties across Europe. It combines a rich overview of politics with penetrating language analysis. Through examination of texts from a range of media - including cartoons, posters and facebook postings - Ruth Wodak raises our awareness of the full range of populist rhetorical strategies. The author who is a renowned authority in the field enhances the accessibility of this elegantly crafted account through 15 'vignettes': case studies of specific instances of right wing populist discourse. -- Jonathan Charteris-Black In this very timely book, Ruth Wodak uncovers the ideological and rhetorical strategies of the contemporary radical right. The clever design of vignettes permits Wodak to dig deeply into carefully selected case studies, thereby providing details to the overall themes that are outlined in the book. This should be required reading for everyone interested in what is going on today in European politics and beyond. -- Jens Rydgren Wodak takes us through the stages that led to the normalisation of nationalistic, xenophobic, racist, anti-Semitic and anti-refugee political and public discourse in the UK, Europe and the US. With such discourses playing on and with our fears, Wodak argues, we must stop being so damn scared and finally come to understand the "rhetorical traps" being set by right-wing ideologues. With the recent re-emergence of the "politics of terror", her clearly written antidote could not be more timely. -- Aniko Horvath, postdoctoral research associate in the School of Social Science and Public Policy, King's College London Ruth Wodak's The Politics of Fear provides a vital contribution to our understanding of the current right-wing resurgence in Europe - coming just when this is needed most. Its urgent and impressive (if disturbing) analysis of how language is employed to move forward ideologies of exclusion will be of great interest to migration scholars and anyone interested in populist discourses; racism and xenophobia; or the politics of the far right in Europe. -- Dr Emma L Briant

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