Religion and Gender in European Populist Right

Serdar A., Öztürk E., Giritli Nygren K.

American Sociological Association, 115th Annual Meeting, California, United States Of America, 8 - 11 August 2020, pp.1

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • City: California
  • Country: United States Of America
  • Page Numbers: pp.1
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


In this study, we analyze the intersection of religion and gender in the European right-wing populism, focusing on France, Sweden and Turkey. We aim to contribute to the theoretical understanding of right-wing populism by proposing a framework that explores how the categories of the People, Elites and non-People are gendered in the vertical positioning of the People against Elites and a horizontal positioning of the People against non-People. Religious/secular references have been articulated in the making of popular subjectivity through gendered demarcations from “the others”. The results show that there are considerable overlap and crossover between populist right-wing agendas on migration with conservative/secular frames on family, but also between national and religious discourses on gender. The study conducts a discourse analysis by the leading political actors of the right-wing populist parties in three countries to reveal and address the patterns of gendered populist discourse by appropriating religion/secularism. We make two theoretical claims: First we suggest that discursive construction of subject categories –which are People, Elite and non-People- at both axis is gendered. These constructed subjectivities are heavily drawn from religious/secular references; right wing populist parties use and exploit them as binary civilizational frameworks b) Secondly we suggest that subject categories are not static; they move in/out or go up/down because of changing power structures and perceived threats against “the People” and this movement is triggered by gendered political frontiers.