Accepted paper:

From 'the Europe of the regions' to the European Champion League: the electoral appeal of populist autochthony discourses in Flanders


Bambi Ceuppens (Royal Museum for Central Africa)

Paper short abstract:

This paper shows how neoliberalism has contributed towards transforming a rightwing Flemish-nationalist discourse into a populist autochthony discourse.

Paper long abstract:

Where once a radical rightwing Flemish-nationalist discourse on the cultural unity and integrity of "the" Flemish people was associated with a small minority, Vlaams Belang (previously Vlaams Blok) has managed to broaden its appeal by transforming it into an autochthony discourse that wants to restricts the benefits of the social welfare state to those who are said to be really belong, at the exclusion of an ever-changing set of "others", from Francophones to "Eurocrats", from Muslim labour immigrants and their descendants to asylum-seekers and East-European "gangs". As such, this rhetoric is no longer limited to the extreme rightwing fringe of the Flemish Movement but has truly become mainstream, straddling the traditional boundaries between right and left. This paper argues that this transformation is largely due to the widespread appeal of a neo-liberal ideology that is more concerned with economic competition than with cultural specificity and integrity.

panel W035
Indigenous, autochthonous and national identities? Strategic representations, political struggles and epistemological issues (atelier bilingue - anglais et fran├žais)