Many countries are experiencing a rise of nationalism in mainstream political discourse. This panel investigates the role of digital networks in the emergence of these new nationalist discourses as well as the impact of this shift on contemporary politics, culture, and social movements.
Over the last decade many countries in Europe and North America have seen a surge of nationalism in mainstream political discourse. Marked by a string of high-profile successes like Brexit in Europe and the election of President Donald Trump in the United States, these campaigns thrive on a particular emotional rhetoric often described as "populist." Whether appealing to tradition, constructing "authentic" national identity, or extolling "common sense" values and anti-elitism, these movements offer citizens the promise to "take back control" from outside forces or to make their country "great again." While the appropriation of folk practices and tradition for nationalist aims is nothing new, digital media offer many new possibilities for these movements to form and circulate their messages unbound by geography or mass media gatekeepers. As politicians, activists, and everyday users take to social media to spread their nationalistic messages, folklorists and ethnologists are in a unique position to track how these movements enact old behaviors in new media. This panel will investigate how these new political and emotional practices are enabled by the affordances of digital networks and the impact of these changes on contemporary politics, culture, and social movements. We invite contributions on a variety of topics and methods, including (but not limited to) vernacular digital expressions of: -Xenophobia (including Islamophobia, antisemitism, anti-immigration, anti-globalism, and orientalism) -Fake news (including rumors, hoaxes, alternative facts, contemporary legends, and conspiracy theories) -Nationalism (including political constructions of heritage, tradition, identity, history, and anti-intellectualism through digital media)