Right-Wing Populism in Germany: Is the Precarious Youth Voting for AfD? Insight from Biographies and CATI Survey

Posted: 23 Mar 2018

See all articles by Vera Trappmann

Vera Trappmann

University of Leeds - Work and Employment Relations

Alexandra Seehaus

Free University of Berlin (FUB)

Denis Neumann

Free University of Berlin (FUB)

Date Written: March 20, 2018

Abstract

Following the example of other European countries, the right-shift in the German political system found its final expression through the Alternative For Germany (AfD) entering the federal parliament in 2017. The emergence and rise of the party was and still is accompanied by a lively debate about its driving forces rooted in German society. This paper contributes to this debate by investigating the connection between precarious life situations and the likelihood of developing a right-wing attitude among young Germans between the age of 18-30. The findings are based on biographical narrative interviews and a representative survey (N=1000) with young Germans. We find no substantial evidence for a vital link between right-wing attitudes and a precarious life situation. Exceptional are cases where social decline is already experienced and social disintegration is at an advanced stage. Against this background, a lack of labor market integration fosters resentment against strangers in the context of a competition for scarce welfare resources. We further prove this with the quantitative data being able to show that an objective precarious life situation does not automatically determine right-wing sentiments. The quantitative data indicates that those who support the AfD do not perceive themselves as precarious, furthermore they consider themselves belonging to the middle class. Right-wing attitudes are predominantly based on cultural illiberalist attitude patterns and the fear of social decline in the future.

Keywords: precarity, populism, Germany, youth studies, AfD

Suggested Citation

Trappmann, Vera and Seehaus, Alexandra and Neumann, Denis, Right-Wing Populism in Germany: Is the Precarious Youth Voting for AfD? Insight from Biographies and CATI Survey (March 20, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3144358

Vera Trappmann (Contact Author)

University of Leeds - Work and Employment Relations ( email )

Leeds
United Kingdom

Alexandra Seehaus

Free University of Berlin (FUB) ( email )

Van't-Hoff-Str. 8
Berlin, Berlin 14195
Germany

Denis Neumann

Free University of Berlin (FUB) ( email )

Van't-Hoff-Str. 8
Berlin, Berlin 14195
Germany

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