Be better than nationalism: overcoming economic inequality for international solidarity. Using social movement theory to deconstruct the cultural ideology of the Alternative for Germany
Sammanfattning: This thesis advocates for the evaluation of current sociopolitical conflicts through the lens of social movement theory, as a decisive path to deconstruct the premises of the German right-wing party Alternative for Germany (Alternative für Deutschland, AfD). The party is conceptualized as an institutionalized social movement, which is insufficiently answering public material grievances caused by economic inequality with the cultural response of nationalistic solidarity. In a globalized world facing the shared challenge of climate change, anticipated and needed international solidarity is fading whilst ultra-nationalistic tendencies are on the rise. In the case of Germany, this manifests in the party AfD. Drawing on social movement theory synthesized by McAdam, McCarthy and Zald, the thesis characterizes the AfD as an institutionalized social movement (ISM) by examining the party’s political opportunities, resources, and framing. Analyzing the political discourse contributions of the party on Twitter using critical discourse analysis (CDA), this thesis exposes that the AfD is giving a cultural response of nationalistic solidarity to the material problem and public grievance of economic inequality. At present, this framing is successful due to the political elite creating a political vacuum by not giving sufficient responses to public grievances. Having exposed this leverage point, the thesis calls for a counter-hegemony that fosters international solidarity through economic equality, which is a prerequisite for sustainable development. This counter-hegemony synergizes sustainable development on an international level whilst pushing back right-wing ultra-nationalistic tensions, which emphasizes the far-reaching potential of interdisciplinary sustainability science.
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