An Affective Technology of Heimat: Whiteness, Nation Building and Social Media in Germany
Friederike Windel, Critical Social Personality Psychology
NML Award: The New Media Lab Digital Dissertation Award (March 2022)
This dissertation examines the patterns of attachments and affective investments in Whiteness, objectifications, and exclusions entrenched in the construct of Heimat, which is broadly defined as “homeland” in German-speaking contexts. I use computational social science and discourse analytical methods to analyze how Heimat is discussed, embodied, and made sense of in affective ways on Twitter and in focus-group conversations. Sitting at the intersections of critical psychology, critical race and feminist theory, and Heimat scholarship, this research asks how Heimat functions affectively to (re)produce and maintain ideologies like White supremacy and nationalism. This dissertation contributes to a better understanding of how Whiteness and White supremacy are discussed, affectively experienced, and made sense of in German-speaking countries. Furthermore, as White Supremacy is an escalating global phenomenon, this dissertation will contribute to an understanding of White nationalism and right-wing extremist violence across the globe.