Workshop: The New Left and the New Right: Continuity, Rupture and the Politics of Emotion in Europe
Organisers: Esra Ozyurek and Julian Gopffarth (LSE)
Location and date: London, 12-13 November 2018
Deadline for submissions: 30 July 2018

In recent years two seemingly contradictory claims have gained salience in public as well as academic debates. On the one hand it has been argued that European societies experience a growing polarisation. On the other hand, it was claimed that the left-right-scheme has become obsolete. If both claims are true, which are the poles marking the extremes of the polarisation if not the left and the right? Many alternative categories have been put forward. For some the new division is one of a “pure people” against a “corrupt elite”. For others it is a cosmopolitan vision of the world against nationalist one. Still others believe it is winners against losers of globalisation, autochthones against immigrants, culture against technocracy or even the West against Islam.

This workshop wants to shed light on yet another antagonism that is pervasive but less openly put forward: the polarisation between what is perceived as rational politics and politics of emotion and affect. Both the New Left and the New Right justify their novelty by declaring the old right-left opposition obsolete, by drawing on emotions to mobilise support and by politicising individuals beyond partisanship who normally show little interest in politics. At a more general level, one could even say that both are driven by the desire to turn politics into an emotionally charged field and move away from a purely rational understanding of politics.

The papers should focus on the continuities, ruptures and crossovers in the politics of emotion and affect that underpin the emergence of the European New Left and the New Right. The terms New Right and New Left have been chosen deliberately as both terms do not only describe the narrow realm of political parties but social phenomena at the intersection of culture and politics. Possible questions to be addressed are:

  • What is the emotional politics of the New Left and the New Right? How do the followers and/or opponents of these movements experience, suppress, highlight, manage and negotiate these emotions?
  • Which emotions do new Left and new Right movements render as right or wrong for their political visions?
  • What are the histories of politics of emotions and emotional politics for Left and Right?
  • What are the continuities and ruptures in relation to the politics of affect of the New Left and the New Right?
  • Which role does culture, religion, gender, identity, ethnicity and/or race play in appealing to and denying certain kinds of emotions?
  • What do these movements mean for minorities, especially Muslims?
  • What is the place of spirituality and myth in the New Left and the New Right?
  • How have the New Left and the New Right transformed over time and how have these processes of transformation been manifested in terms of emotions?

Selected papers presented during the workshop will be published in a special issue.

Please submit a 200-word abstract and 50-word speaker biography to by July 30th. Successful applicants will be notified by July 30th. Travel and lodging will be provided for up to 600£ for presenters from outside Europe, 400£ for those from Europe. For any questions please contact the organisers Dr Esra Ozyurek ( and Julian Gopffarth (

Keynote speeches: Cynthia Miller-Idriss (American University), David Graeber (LSE), Jan Kubik (Rutgers University/UCL)