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Nicole Navratil

Performing the Nation – and Womanhood? The (Self-)Staging of Female Leaders of Today’s Right-Wing Populist Parties in Europe

In recent years, we have been witnessing a growing success of right-wing political parties in Europe and around the world. Right-wing parties have seats in practically all European parliaments, and some countries are even headed by right-wing populists as Prime Ministers. At the same time, there is a growing number of women heading these parties: female party leaders such as Marine Le Pen, Giorgia Meloni, Alice Weidel, Milica Đurđević Stamenkovski, Pernille Vermond, Roberta Metsola, and many others have entered the stage of national and international politics.

Women leaders as ‘faces’ of such parties are part of the aestheticisation and communication strategy of the new far right. Far right actors aim to give their parties a fresh and modern appearance in order to distance themselves from ‘old nationalism’, which is associated with national socialism/fascism, and thus broaden their influence in society and attract new voters. The project thus aims to research the (self-)staging of female leaders of today’s right-wing populist parties in Europe under the lens of gender: how female leaders construct and portray themselves; how gender (or gender role) is staged; which elements are used for this (certain images, practices as well as materiality); how gender images are created, used, or counteracted; and how this all fits into the nationalist gender narrative. To tackle these questions, visual analysis of various visual sources of female leading figures will be conducted.

The project is thus contributing to the research of the recent success and to the deconstruction of the communication strategies of right-wing populist parties and brings research of political aesthetics of the far right and the study of women in right-wing politics together.


Academic CV:

Since October 2022: PhD Student at IGS Resonant Self-World Relations (Graz / Erfurt)

2021–2022: University Assistant at Institute for Old Testament Studies (University of Graz)

2019–2021: Student Assistant at Institute for Old Testament Studies (University of Graz)

2021–2023: MA Studies Evangelisch-Theologische Studien (University of Vienna)

2018–2022: BA Studies Grundlagen theologischer Wissenschaft (University of Graz)

2007–2015: MA Studies in History (University of Graz)

2002–2007: BA Studies in History and Literature (University of Bielefeld)

1997–1999: Language Certificates 1 and 2 in French Literature and Art History (Université de la Sorbonne, Paris)

Coordination Erfurt

Dr. Elisabeth Begemann


Coordination Graz

Dr. Anna-Katharina Rieger

Phone:+43 316 380 - +43 (0)316 380 - 2391

Doctoral positions are open for the study year 2023/24. Deadline extended (end of April. For further information on the call see here.

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