Pegida Protests Podcast Illustrates Concepts & Processes

In a recent podcast, Germany, Islam & The New Right, BBC Radio 4 explores the remarkable rise of Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West (Pegida) in Dresden, Germany (see here and here).  A local political scientist interviewed in the podcast explains that Americans should think of Pegida as the Tea Party, Brits as the BNP,[1] and the French as the National Front.

What interests me is the extent to which the podcast illustrates a number of concepts and processes I teach my students.  Pegida’s Monday protests echo those begun in Leipzig in 1989, which spread to many East German cities, including Dresden. Thus, Tilly’s “repertoires” are nicely illustrated.[2]  Informational theories of mobilization are also illustrated: the public display of opinions that are considered verboeten by political rulers makes others who hold such views more willing to air them in public, which creates a bandwagon among those who hold such views, but have different thresholds for taking the risk of being singled out and shamed or otherwise punished.[3]  Finally, Loewen’s argument about mono-cultures (highly homogenous ethnic communities) being most likely to vilify “the other” is borne out during the podcast.[4]

Finally, if you enjoy irony, that is yet another reason to check out the podcast.[5]

@WilHMoo

Cross posted at Will Opines.

[1] A Pegida UK branch launched last month.

[2] From Mobilization to Revolution, 1978.

[3] For examples, see Suzanne Lohmann “The Dynamics of Informational Cascades: The Monday Demonstrations in Leipzig, East Germany, 1989–91,” 1994 (ungated PDF here) and Timur Kuran “Sparks and prairie fires: A theory of unanticipated political revolution,” 1989 (ungated PDF here).

[4] Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism, 2006.  This is a variant of the contact hypothesis.  See, also, Keith E. Schnakenberg “Group Identity and Symbolic Political Behavior,” Quarterly Journal of Political Science, 2014. Ungated at SSRN.

[5] The reporter, who clearly finds Pegida’s view unpalatable, is blissfully unaware of the information theories in [3].

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