Fitting in, Standing out
Untertitel: Far-right Youth Style and Commercialization in Germany
AutorInnen: Miller-Idriss, Cynthia; Graefe-Geusch, Annett Publikationsjahr: 2023
While right-wing extremists and political parties are closely monitored in Germany, less is known about youth in and around the margins of far-right subcultures, even though such scenes can be gateways to further radicalization, extremist mobilization, and engagement in violence. The German case of youth engagement is especially intriguing because the German
far right was at the forefront of a radical transformation in European far-right style in the early part of the 21st century, as the previously uniform ‘skinhead’ style of
shaved heads, black combat boots, camouflage pants, and bomber jackets has been replaced with a wide variety of commercial mainstream style clothing styles, often through the use of brands which are deliberately coded with extremist symbols and references (Miller-Idriss 2018). We know surprisingly little about how youth in and around far-right subcultures consume such clothing, whether they understand it, what it means to them, and how they interpret their coded messages, symbols, and signals. In the chapter, we examine how the complexity of style works for youth in and around the far right in Germany, focusing in particular on how style helps young people navigate two significant emotional impulses of adolescence: fitting in, and standing out. As youth navigate adolescence and the transition to adulthood, we argue, they play with style as a way of exploring what it means to be a part of a group and a community, and what it means to be noticed for being different. Empirically, these findings have implications for the appeal of the new, mainstream far-right subcultural brands and styles and their potential to contribute to the recruitment and radicalization of far-right youth. Theoretically, we trace implications for work on youth identities, especially in terms of the meaning of fashion and the complexity of style for young people’s lives and identities.