Cultures of Rejection (CURE)

Conditions of Acceptability in Socio-Spatial and Digital Environments in Contemporary Europe

The recent successes of right-wing political parties and nationalist mobilisations across Europe call for a deeper understanding of the social and cultural dynamics in which such political projects are able to thrive. They cannot be adequately grasped as either “protest votes”, nor as “reactions” to migration and refugee movements. Rather, the current strength of nationalism and right-wing populism in Europe is indicative of a deeper process of social polarisation, radicalisation and transformation of everyday life – a series of phenomena we term Cultures of Rejection.

Cultures of Rejection: Conditions of Acceptability in Socio-Spatial and Digital Environments in Contemporary Europe [CURE] is aimed at generating a deeper understanding of processes of social polarization, radicalization, and transformation of everyday life that under pin the surges in nationalism and right-wing populism in Europe. Cultures of Rejection encompass practices, discourses, and cultural formations based on values, norms, and affects which reject immigration, domestic political elites, institutions of civil society and the media, shifting gender relations, and European integration. The working hypothesis posits that cultures of rejection emerge from experiences of change and crisis, and fuel rejection of both the EU and national democratic systems as well as institutions of civil society, threatening social cohesion and peaceful coexistence. The project seeks to test this hypothesis and to analyse which dimensions of transformation and crisis are processed in cultures of rejection, and how meaning is ascribed to them intersubjectively in different environments.

At its core, the project asks:

  1. how do workers in two industries affected by economic and technological transformation (logistics/transport and retail) reproduce, justify, or contradict cultures of rejection in their everyday lives?
  2. To which experiences of routines, transformation, and crisis do employees ascribe meaning via reference to cultures of rejection?
  3. Which online and offline environments are relevant to their reproduction?
  4. What similarities and differences can account for the composition of cultures of rejection in different spaces and places?

Cultures of Rejection are investigated empirically across a transnational European space in Sweden, Germany, Austria, Croatia, and Serbia, and on three levels: The workplace, digital environments, and social-spatial environments innovatively combining social and cultural research with ethnological methods in both online and offline environments. The project team at Leuphana University Lüneburg consists of Manuela Bojadzijev and Alexander Harder, supported by Rebekka Pfennig.

The project is funded by Volkswagen-Stiftung and its principal investigators are Manuela Bojadžijev (Leuphana University Lüneburg / Germany), Dr. Irena Fiket (University of Belgrade / Serbia), Prof. Dr. Birgit Sauer (University of Vienna / Austria), Dr. Sanja Bojanic (University of Rijeka / Croatia) and Prof. Dr. Stefan Jonsson (Linköping University / Sweden).

  • Prof. Dr. Manuela Bojadzijev