9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN02 Sociology of the Arts

2009-09-03 09:00:00 2009-09-03 10:30:00 Thursday, 3 September 09:00 - 10:30 Arts and Politics Building II, C6.08

The role of the music in the German extremist right-wing movements

As addressed by Eyerman and Jamison (1998: 160), "the construction of meaning through songs is a central aspect of collective identity formation and (...) collective structures of feeling are actually made and reorganized, in part, through music".
Based on a deep description of the main features, modes of distribution and consumption practices of Rechtsrock (Right-wing music), the paper will frame the conspirative and penally punishable activities of nowadays nationalistic movements in the Bundesrepublik Deuschlands focusing on the central role played by music in giving cohesion and coherence to this widespread scene.
German extremist movements represent a significant example of political propaganda through music. In the past decades, right-wing parties have registered a dramatic decrease in youth participation and trust in traditional political models. To contrast this tendency, a new strategy was adopted and several small groups and organizations were created at a regional level; nonetheless, the governmental prohibition of reconstructing any organization which could remind of the Nazi party made particularly hard their survival. All these fragmented units needed a common ideological denominator as well as a way to keep in touch with each other without being bothered by any legal complication. And, it was in this context that music was chosen as effective means of propaganda, as powerful homogenizing element, as privileged way to reach young and potentially new adepts of the extremist right-wing scene.
Four will be the foci of the paper: the Rechtsrock groups, the songs, the concerts as socialization event and the audience. In particular, the analysis will pay close attention to the songs' content. Through a grounded theory, by using NVivo qualitative software, it will be possible to discover and analyse the most common topics, words and symbols characterizing their music production, thus deeply penetrating into the ideology, the process of identity formation and the structure of feeling of these movements.
Coherently with a framework that looks at music as significant and largely resource for academic observes, the paper will underline how the sociology of music represents an extremely effective and strategic means for the examination of complex phenomena such as extremist and xenophobic movements.