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Always the Same Old Conspiracy Story. On Jürgen Elsässer’s Narrative Voyage from Left to Right
The recently rising influx of refugees to Germany contributes tofuel fears among conservatives that migrants might change the culturalmake–up of the country. This has opened up opportunities for certainindividuals to spread, about migrants, xenophobic conspiracy theoriesthat extremists then use to justify violence. The essay contends thatthese narrations are dangerous, for they create and/or reinforce enemyimages of migrants and spread racist thought and action. By employingMari-Liis Madisson’s semiotic model of how conspiracy theories createmeaning, the article focuses on the case of one public figure producingsuch rhetoric: Jürgen Elsässer. Three of Elsässer’s texts stemming fromdifferent social contexts are cross–examined: one from his leftist past andtwo right–wing texts from his more recent PEGIDA-allegiance. Elsässereasily interweaves facts and public fears so as to create conspiracy theories,which in the past were about an alleged neofascist Germanizationof Europe and more recently focus on the presumed threat of Islamizationand Americanization of the continent. The article shows how anauthor of conspiracy discourse can deliver fuel for public fears througha cunning rhetoric, which retains conspiratorial narrative patterns andconcurrently obscure the author’s shift of political allegiances.
pagine: 171-188
DOI: 10.4399/978885489931510
data pubblicazione: Giugno 2016
editore: Aracne