Three Types of Culture Wars and the Populist Strategies in Central Europe Cover Image
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Three Types of Culture Wars and the Populist Strategies in Central Europe
Three Types of Culture Wars and the Populist Strategies in Central Europe

Author(s): Zora Hesová
Subject(s): Politics / Political Sciences, Social Sciences, Political behavior
Published by: Masarykova univerzita
Keywords: Populism; culture wars; Central Europe; culturalization; polarization

Summary/Abstract: Since the ‘migration crisis’ in 2015 at the latest, the politics of a broadly conceived Central Europe has been marked by conflicts over symbols, values and norms. Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Croatia, Austria, and the Czech Republic have witnessed divisive debates and campaigns over refugee quotas, women’s and gay rights, abortion laws and public monuments. As the term ‘culture wars’ was becoming ubiquitous, it remained ambivalent in its meaning and usage. The aim of this article is to identify a political logic of recent Central European cultural conflicts without leaning solely on the ideological explanation, e.g. the anti-liberal backlash thesis of Rupnik, and Krastev and Holms. By borrowing R. Brubaker’s conceptualizations of identity and populism, the article contends that it is possible to analyze culture wars as a repertoire of a populist political style. To do so, the article develops a critical perspective on culture wars, defined as polarizing conflicts in the arenas of the politics of memory, politics of identity and politics of morality. Culture wars are analyzed as a strategy of re-politicization of memory (especially of World War II), (civilizational) identity and public morality and a code used in struggles for political and cultural hegemony.

  • Issue Year: XXVIII/2021
  • Issue No: 2
  • Page Range: 130-150
  • Page Count: 20
  • Language: English