Author:Jutta Lauth Bacas (University of Malta)
Paper short abstract:
My paper will discuss the lower than average level of electoral success of the nationalist party AfD in cities in west Germany, where immigration is high since the 1960ies. My analysis will refer to citizens' engagement on the local level and to municipal institutions promoting cultural diversity.
Paper long abstract:
Germany has a long-standing history of immigration since the 1960ies. In 2015/16, the country experienced an unprecedented influx of asylum seekers and crisis refugees. Since than, Germany not only saw a wave of local citizens' hospitality, but also the rise and electoral success of a new right-wing partly, the AfD ("Alternative for Germany") with a firth anti-immigration approach. In the national election of 2017, the nationalist AfD managed to secure 12.6% of the vote and to enter the German parliament as third largest party. Electoral analysis shows that AfD has its strongholds in the former communist east of the country.
Interestingly, AfD's electoral success was significantly lower than the national average in a number of large cities in western Germany with a population characterised by a high degree of cultural diversity. Why did voters in municipalities like Cologne, Frankfurt/Main, Münster, Offenbach, Nürnberg felt less attracted by the anti-migration, anti-Islam discourse of the AfD?
The aim of my presentation is to discuss this lower representation of the right-wing party AfD in a number of German cities, where labour immigration has been high since the 1960ies. Therefore, the following approaches to promote cultural diversity shall be investigated:
- Social movements and civil engagement on the municipal level (f.e., the citizens' initiative "Köln gegen Rechts" in Cologne)
- Municipal institutions supporting cultural diversity (f.e., the Office for Multicultural Affairs (AmkA) founded by the administration of Frankfurt/Main to encourage ethnic groups in Frankfurt in living together constructively).
Hospitality and its reverse: migration and xenophobia in Southern Europe and beyond [MedNet Mediterraneanist Network]