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Conversations on Europe. “Democratization as Exclusion: Postmigrant Youth, Young Neo-Nazis, and the Future of Work and Welfare Versus Revolution in the New Germany/Europe.”

Thursday, September 19, 2013
12:00 AM
1636 International Institute/SSWB, 1080 S. University

This paper examines the politics of democratization versus participation as they have emerged from the logics of post-World War II American military occupation, in which democratization as de-nazification was the main aim. In the current period, Hitler Youth have been replaced by “Migrant Youth” and young Neo-Nazis as those whom moralizing agents deem most in need of democratization. As opposed to occupying American forces, the German state, itself, has been investing in the democratization of these new young populations. The speaker will address the following questions: What are the social and political effects of this top-down form of democratization that has emerged from the post-Holocaust reality? What does it mean to apply this logic simultaneously to both “migrant” and neo-Nazi youth, groups that are alternatively experiencing the effects of contemporary racism or enforcing a nationalist racist logic to counteract economic and social uncertainty? To what ends is the state undertaking these initiatives and with what effect? What are the futures of these youth, and how do state sponsored democratization programs impact them? Are these measures merely a temporary means for staving off any revolutionary potential? In this respect, how is the fate of racialized “migrant youth” similar to that of young Neo-Nazis? What can we ultimately say about democratization versus democratic participation given this history and contemporary condition?

Damani J. Partridge is an associate professor in the Department of Anthropology and in the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies. He has published on questions of citizenship, sexuality, post-Cold War “freedom,” Holocaust memorialization, African-American military occupation, the production of noncitizens, and the Obama moment in Berlin. He is currently doing research for a project entitled “Democratization as Exclusion—Post-migrant Youth, Young Neo-Nazis, and the Future of Work and Welfare versus Revolution in the New Germany/Europe.” His book, Hypersexuality and Headscarves: Race, Sex, and Citizenship in the New Germany, was published by Indiana University Press in February 2012.

Sponsors: CES, WCED

Part of Rethinking Sovereignty, a multi-disciplinary lecture series that explores the tension between the powers of centralized states in the modern world and their uncertain political and geographical peripheries.

Damani Partridge, associate professor of anthropology and Afroamerican and African studies, U-M