In 2017, the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) became the first the far-right party to win seats in the Bundestag since 1933. By campaigning on ethnic division, the AfD saw an unprecedented rise in support, especially in East Germany. This paper tests two models of ethnic conflict within comparative politics, primordialism and constructivism, to see which better explains the result of the AfD’s 2017 election. By examining the rhetorical use of political advertisements, the Manifesto Project’s analysis of the AfD’s platform, and differences of support between East and West Germany, the paper finds that constructivism better shows that highly-educated elites within the AfD purposefully constructed ethnic division to gain political support. Clear implications are drawn for the future of the two ethnic models and for European far-right politics.
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Parham, Clay H.
"Comparative Models in German Elections: Using the German Far-Right Party as a Proxy for Ethnic Conflict,"
Claremont-UC Undergraduate Research Conference on the European Union:
Vol. 2019, Article 6.
Available at: https://scholarship.claremont.edu/urceu/vol2019/iss1/6