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Pitching Gender in a Racist Tune: The Affective Publics of the #120decibel Campaign

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  • Shari Adlung, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany
  • Margreth Lünenborg, Free University of Berlin, Germany
  • Christoph Raetzsch
This article analyses the changed structures, actors and modes of communication that characterise ‘dissonant public spheres.’ With the #120decibel campaign by the German Identitarian Movement in 2018, gender and migration were pitched in a racist tune, absorbing feminist concerns and positions into neo-nationalistic, misogynist and xenophobic propaganda. The article examines the case of #120decibel as an instance of ‘affective publics’ (Lünenborg, 2019a) where forms of feminist protest and emancipatory hashtag activism are absorbed by anti-migration campaigners. Employing the infrastructure and network logics of social media platforms, the campaign gained public exposure and sought political legitimacy through strategies of dissonance, in which a racial solidarity against the liberal state order was formed. Parallel structures of networking and echo-chamber amplification were established, where right-wing media articulate fringe positions in an attempt to protect the rights of white women to be safe in public spaces. #120decibel is analysed and discussed here as characteristic of the ambivalent role and dynamics of affective publics in societies challenged by an increasing number of actors forming an alliance on anti-migration issues based on questionable feminist positions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMedia and Communication
Pages (from-to)16-26
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021

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