The Management of Hate
Nation, Affect, and the Governance of Right-Wing Extremism in Germany
Since German reunification in 1990, there has been widespread concern about marginalized young people who, faced with bleak prospects for their future, have embraced increasingly violent forms of racist nationalism that glorify the country's Nazi past. The Management of Hate, Nitzan Shoshan’s riveting account of the year and a half he spent with these young right-wing extremists in East Berlin, reveals how they contest contemporary notions of national identity and defy the clichés that others use to represent them.
Shoshan situates them within what he calls the governance of affect, a broad body of discourses and practices aimed at orchestrating their attitudes toward cultural difference—from legal codes and penal norms to rehabilitative techniques and pedagogical strategies. Governance has conventionally been viewed as rational administration, while emotions have ordinarily been conceived of as individual states. Shoshan, however, convincingly questions both assumptions. Instead, he offers a fresh view of governance as pregnant with affect and of hate as publicly mediated and politically administered. Shoshan argues that the state’s policies push these youths into a right-extremist corner instead of integrating them in ways that could curb their nationalist racism. His point is certain to resonate across European and non-European contexts where, amid robust xenophobic nationalisms, hate becomes precisely the object of public dispute.
Powerful and compelling, The Management of Hate provides a rare and disturbing look inside Germany’s right-wing extremist world, and shines critical light on a German nationhood haunted by its own historical contradictions.
Nitzan Shoshan is assistant professor at the Center for Sociological Studies at the Colegio de México in Mexico City.