Date of Award

Spring 4-28-2017

Degree Type

Honors Thesis

First Advisor

Yarong Ashley

Abstract

In light of the so-called refugee crisis, many European states have seen a rise in support for far-right and/or populist political movements and xenophobia directed towards those perceived to fit into the highly politicized category of ‘refugee.’ This paper examines the rhetoric disseminated by these political groups surrounding refugees and migrants from Muslim majority countries to discuss how far-right and xenophobic groups in Hungary, the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic have bolstered support through fear-mongering and the scapegoating of Muslim and Middle Eastern migrants and refugees. We further discuss how fear-based ethnic nationalisms have been exploited by particular groups and politicians in order to generate rhetoric which works to garner support for xenophobic and extremist ideologies among mainstream populations in Central-Eastern Europe. We seek to provide an analysis of of Central-Eastern European responses to the ‘refugee crisis’ which exposes the historical, economic and political roots of nationalism and xenophobia in ways which neither justify these phenomena nor explains them using Cold War stereotypes of ‘Eastern’ Europeans as inherently backwards.

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