How are liberal values such as gender equality and gay rights put into the service of a globally ascending neo-nationalism? This panel brings together ethnographers studying the frictions and entanglements between liberalism, neo-nationalism, and sexuality from the far right to queer activism.
The era of post-Fordist liberalism has met fierce opposition in the rise of authoritarian far-right neo-nationalisms. While liberal values such as gender equality, multiculturalism, and gay rights continue to proliferate in the institutions of Europe, so too do their adversaries: anti-feminism, Islamophobia, and heterosexism. However, we're not confronted with a clear divide between liberals and anti-liberals, but rather with a tangled ideological web in which globalizing gender equality and gay rights are put into the service of likewise globalizing anti-Muslim discourses and projects. Interdisciplinary work on homo- and femonationalism has demonstrated how the idea of "European values" has helped generate the figure of "the Muslim" as the fundamental "Other" of Europe. It is the strength of ethnography to complicate and disentangle such historical conjunctures through close attention to everyday practices and lives lived adjacently to the realm of formal politics. Political ethnographies attuned to recent theoretical developments in feminist and queer theory, on the one hand, and interdisciplinary investigations of racializations and nation-state formations, on the other, have begun to reveal the contours and dimensions of this tangled web of surprising coalitions, novel assemblages and (re)invented traditions. We are looking to include ethnographically informed contributions focusing on the everyday politics of sexual democracy and sexual nationalisms. Bringing together ethnographers working at differentangles of this ideological field - from far-right parties to queer grassroots activism - this panel aims at challenging and updating our theoretical vocabularies on the intersectionality of neo-nationalism, racism, and the far right.