The panel sheds light on the appropriation and instrumentalization of gender (knowledge) for neo-national, racist and anti-democratic strategies, and explores from an intersectional perspective the effects of these discourses on gendered (self-) concepts in different European countries.
Gender as a concept was initially invented to support emancipatory politics—at least, it seems to have worked this way for a long time. Recently, different societal actors and groups make use of, and appropriate, notions of gender in order to bring forward anti-emancipatory, that is nationalist, racist and ostracizing, discursive strategies. For example, migrants as racialized oriental "others" are imagined as threat to "European" women in order to justify and legitimize restrictive migration politics (see Neuhauser/Hess /Schwenken 2016). Moreover, "anti-genderism", which articulates itself, for example, as criticism against gender studies and gender mainstreaming, seems to serve as "symbolic glue" (Kováts/Põim 2015), allowing coalitions between extreme right, religious-fundamentalist and traditionalist groups and parties. In this context, common as well as scholarly gender knowledge (Wetterer 2008) is used as mediator between discourses, (normative) regimes of truth, and (institutionalized) actions and their effects (Neuhauser/Hess /Schwenken 2016). Against this backdrop, we invite panelists to analyze and discuss how gender and gender knowledge is strategically exploited for national and anti-democratic purposes. From an intersectional perspective, we propose to explore in which ways these dynamics contribute to the re-construction of intelligible gendered self-concepts, expanding and/or narrowing down imaginaries of masculinity and femininity as well as sexualities and desires. We invite scholars from all over Europe to contrast and compare local strategies of nationalist, conservative and/or religious fundamentalist politics in which gender and sexuality play a crucial role.