Accepted paper:

Predatory pederasts? Ideas of sexuality, otherness, and conspiracy among contemporary Russian grassroots nationalists

Author:

Tova Höjdestrand (Lund University)

Paper short abstract:

An escalating focus on family and sexuality in contemporary Russian nationalism has resulted in a gradual shift in criteria for us-and-them boundaries, as formerly dominating notions of race and religion are partially being superseded by sexual “otherness” such as homosexuality.

Paper long abstract:

Although a constituent facet of nationalism as such, concerns about sexuality, family, and demography are becoming increasingly central to the present upsurge of nationalist sentiments in many Eastern European countries. The trend is particularly conspicuous in Russia, not only by the notorious homophobic legal initiatives during the past year, but also by ostentatious pronatalist policies. The official position is justified by an ostensible "people's will," embodied by a growing plethora of conservative pro-family grassroots groups, defending ostensibly traditional Russian family values against Western moral "pollutants" such as homosexuality, feminism, sexual education, etc. This paper elucidates how sexuality is gradually being added to race and religion as a criteria for ultra-nationalist boundary setting. A striking example is an increasing sexualization of the historically entrenched genre of anti-Western conspiracy narratives, in which the "traditional" standard culprit, the Jewish-governed World Wide Plot, is gradually being replaced by a conspiracy of liberals and/or gays. Symptomatic for the sexualization of Otherness is also a recent tendency among many racist ultra-nationalist groups to engage in politically opportune issues related to family policy, and to add homosexuals to immigrants as a selected target for harassment and violence.

panel P086
Cultural strategies and social conditions of neo-nationalisms in Europe