The Extreme Gone Mainstream: Commercialization and Far Right Youth Culture in Germany - A Lecture by Cynthia Miller-Idriss

4:00 pm on Monday, November 5, 2018
5:30 pm on Monday, November 5, 2018
Pardee School of Global Studies, 121 Bay State Road
1st floor
Contact Organization:
Center for the Study of Europe
Contact Name:
Elizabeth Amrien
Contact Phone:
Cynthia Miller-Idriss, John Stone
Cynthia Miller-Idriss explores how extremist ideologies have entered mainstream German culture through commercialized products and clothing laced with extremist, anti-Semitic, racist, and nationalist coded symbols and references. Drawing on a unique digital archive of thousands of historical and contemporary images, as well as scores of interviews with young people and their teachers in two German vocational schools with histories of extremist youth presence, Miller-Idriss shows how this commercialization is part of a radical transformation happening today in German far right youth subculture. She describes how these youths have gravitated away from the singular, hard-edged skinhead style in favor of sophisticated and fashionable commercial brands that deploy coded extremist symbols. Virtually indistinguishable in style from other clothing popular with youth, the new brands desensitize far right consumers to extremist ideas and dehumanize victims. Cynthia Miller-Idriss is a cultural sociologist who studies the cultural and aesthetic dimensions of radical and extreme youth culture, with a particular focus on how clothing, style and symbols act as a gateway into extremist scenes and subcultures. She also studies how universities organize their teaching and research about the world outside the nation's borders. Moderated by John Sone, Professor of Sociology at Boston University