Dr. Dimitri Almeida





Forschung/ Research




Contested secularisms in France/ Laizität im Konflikt
Duration: 2013-2017
Language: German and English
Methodology: Qualitative discourse analysis of contemporary sources (19th - 21st centuries), socio-cultural semiotic analysis
Publications:

  • (2017) Laizität im Konflikt: Religion und Politik in Frankreich, Reihe: Politik und Religion, Wiesbaden: Springer VS.

    Dimitri Almeida Frankreich Religion Politik Konflikt



    Ausgehend von einer Analyse der politischen und geistesgeschichtlichen Wurzeln der Trennung von Staat und Kirche in Frankreich beleuchtet die Studie die unterschiedlichen Deutungen des Laizitätsprinzips und die Konflikte, die sich beispielsweise in der Frage der Integration des Islam in die Republik ergeben. Das Buch schlägt den Bogen von der kolonialen Islampolitik Frankreichs über die Kontroversen um Kopftuch und Gesichtsschleier bis hin zu den Erfolgen des Front National in der Vereinnahmung republikanischer Prinzipien. Die Studie weist damit ausführlich nach, welche weitreichenden Folgen die Politisierung von Laizität und Religion auf die französische Gesellschaft hat.


  • (2018) 'Marianne at the Beach: The French Burkini Controversy and the Shifting Meanings of Republican Secularism', Journal of Intercultural Studies, 39(1): 20-34. [peer-reviewed] free eprint

    The article critically examines the controversy surrounding burkini-style swimsuits that arose in summer 2016 in France. Through a comparative analysis of representations of the ‘burkini’ in political discourse and in Muslim online forums, I explore the contested meanings attached to full-body ‘Islamic’ swimsuits. Contrary to hegemonic French representations of ‘Islamic’ swimsuits as manifestations of a politicised religiosity, ‘burkinis’ are described by women who wear them as an opportunity to claim access to spaces of leisure while still obeying their belief in dressing modestly. The burkini bans, I argue, have contributed to weakening expressions of religiosity that seek to resolve tensions between religious belief and a secular understanding of leisure and sociability. Elaborating on the transformations of French republicanism, I explore how the burkini controversy is related to the rise of exclusionary conceptions of secularism.


  • (2017) 'Exclusionary Secularism: The Front National and the Reinvention of Laïcité, Modern and Contemporary France 25(3): 249-263. [peer-reviewed] free eprint

    After two decades of privileged relations with Catholic traditionalism, the Front National now presents itself as the staunchest defender of French secularism. This article aims to examine this alleged secular turn by analysing its relation with Marine Le Pen's strategy of normalisation. It argues that laïcité in today's bleu marine FN must be understood both as a new frame to legitimise old preferences and as a strategy to reach heterogeneous constituencies. Furthermore, the article places the FN's understanding of laïcité into the larger context of the diffusion of exclusionary readings of the French secularist model since 1989.

    Après deux décennies de relations privilégiées avec le catholicisme traditionnaliste, le Front national se présente aujourd'hui comme le plus fervent défenseur de la laïcité. Cet article examine ce prétendu tournant laïque en analysant ses liens avec la stratégie de dédiabolisation associée à Marine Le Pen. Il argumente que le FN sous bannière bleu marine utilise la laïcité comme un cadre discursif nouveau servant à légitimer des positions anciennes ainsi que comme une stratégie visant à s'adresser à des électorats distincts. En outre, l'article place la lecture frontiste du principe de laïcité dans le contexte plus vaste de la diffusion de conceptions exclusives du modèle laïque depuis 1989.


  • Mulheres em rede/ mujeres en red
    Women networks in the Portuguese-speaking world
    Duration: 2011 – 2017
    Languages: Portuguese and Spanish
    Methodologies and approaches: network analysis, cultural semiotics, historical discourse analysis, gender studies, sociology of reading and writing
    German-Portuguese and Spanish-Portuguese project-related personal exchange directed by Vanda Anastácio, Tobias Brandenberger and Nieves Baranda ("Redes culturais femininas na Península Ibérica, séculos XVI a XIX", 2011-2013, Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia & Ministério Espanhol de Educação e Ciência; "Redes culturais femininas entre Portugal e Alemanha", 2014-2015, Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia & DAAD

  • Dimitri Almeida, Vanda Anastácio & María Martos Pérez (2018) Mulheres em rede/ Mujeres en red: Convergências lusófonas, Series: LIT Ibéricas, Berlin: LIT.

    Mulheres_em_rede_mujeres_en_red Anastacio Dimitri Almeida Martos



    O estudo de redes femininas históricas encontra-se ainda numa fase embrionária, particularmente no que diz respeito ao espaço lusófono. As contribuições aqui reunidas procuram preencher esta lacuna através de estudos de caso fundamentados em fontes por vezes inéditas assim como em documentos até agora nunca examinados sob a óptica da construção de redes e das questões de género. Elaborando uma variedade de propostas metodológicas, o presente volume oferece um panorama amplo das possibilidades de (re)pensar o papel desempenhado por mulheres na formação e na transformação de redes culturais.
    Table of contents



  • Towards a post-radical Front National?
    Duration: since 2007
    Language: English and German
    Methodology: Qualitative political discourse analysis, interviews
    Publications:


    • (2019) 'Cultural Retaliation: The Cultural Policies of the 'New' Front National', International Journal of Cultural Policy 25(3). [peer-reviewed] free eprint

      This study examines the conception of culture and the cultural policies of the French Front National. Tracing the developments of the party's cultural agenda before and after Marine Le Pen took over the leadership of the party from her father, I show how the Front National has adapted its discourse on cultural policy to its wider programmatic profile. In the context of a strategy of de-radicalisation promoted by Marine Le Pen, recent years have witnessed focussed efforts by the party leadership to professionalise and modernise the party's cultural policy programme. However, the analysis of the party's current cultural policy agenda reveals a remarkable continuity in the way the party leadership conceives of national culture and of what cultural policy should promote. This programmatic continuity becomes apparent in the analysis of the local cultural policies of municipalities won by the Front National in 2014. Exploring the cultural agendas of ten local governments with a Front National majority, I argue that the cultural policies of the Front National remain deeply rooted in a nativist understanding of culture and a dirigiste approach that wilfully excludes postcolonial minorities.

    • Media reports: Der Standard, Ö1.

      • (2014) 'Decadence and indifferentiation in the ideology of the Front National', French Cultural Studies 25(2)[peer-reviewed].

        Decadence, moral decay and national disintegration are obsessively recurrent themes in the narratives of the French radical right. This article explores the topos of decadence in the Front National's ideology through a content analysis of speeches and campaign material ranging from the 1980s until 2012. Beginning with an interpretation of decadence based on René Girard's discussion of persecution-legitimising texts, the article argues that the Front National's discourse on decadence revolves around the idea of a crisis of differences and an acceleration of exchanges presented as unnatural. This point is developed in relation to the role of sexuality in the party's profile and to the logics of historical development and political agency inherent to the Front National's understanding of decadence. Decadence, I argue, is indissociable from indifferentiation - the fear of seeing the disappearance of differences conceived as fundamental for the preservation of national order.


      • (2013) 'Towards a post-radical Front National? Patterns of ideological change and dédiabolisation in the French radical right', Nottingham French Studies 52(2). [peer-reviewed].

        Based on a content analysis of official programmatic texts produced between 2007 and 2012, the article retraces the changes introduced in the Front National's narratives on nationality, laïcité, societal issues (abortion and homosexuality), European integration and economic policy, asking whether the FN has undergone a path of renewal with Marine Le Pen's ascension. The analysis builds upon the theoretical notions of non-linear programmatic change and the role of heuristic cues and frames to respond to potentially conflicting constituency-based and party-internal pressures.I argue, that in terms of programmatic output, the alterations Marine Le Pen brought to the FN cannot be subsumed under the notion of deradicalization. New frames have been developed to legitimize old preferences and old frames have been extended to other policy areas. Stances on European integration have even witnessed an unambiguous radicalization and the economic policy programme follows the principle of an omnipotent state. What may appear as a recent socialist turn should be more adequately interpreted as the systematic extension of the party's anti-liberal profile to economic policy.

      • (2007) 'Der Front National: Analyse eines wahlpolitischen Überfalls', Lendemains 126/127: 63-70. [eingeladen]

        Résumé [FR]: L'article étudie les développements récents au sein du Front national ainsi que les raisons de l'échec de Jean-Marie Le Pen et du FN à la présidentielle et aux législatives de 2007. La présentation succincte de la stratégie développée par le FN met en avant un conflit entre la modernisation idéologique prônée par Marine Le Pen et le maintien de la cohésion interne du parti. Le score du candidat frontiste s'explique cependant avant tout par l'appropriation menée par le candidat de l'UMP de thèmes chers au FN. L'analyse des performances électorales des deux candidats confirme le succès de cette stratégie qui a permis à une droite décomplexée de (re)conquérir une partie de l'électorat frontiste dans les premiers bastions du lepénisme.


      • Party responses to European integration
        Duration: 2006-2012
        Language: English
        Methodology: Qualitative and quantitative discourse analysis, analysis of voting behaviour, quantitative content analyis, interviews
        Publications:

        • (2012) The Impact of European Integration on Political Parties: Beyond the Permissive Consensus, London: Routledge. [peer-reviewed]

          The book traces the positions of national partisan actors towards the development of the European polity over a period of 60 years in an in-depth comparative analysis covering all member states of the European Union. It demonstrates that attitudes and programmatic changes towards European integration must be understood both as the product of long-term ideological traditions and domestic opposition or incumbency-seeking strategies.

        • Dimitri Almeida Euroscepticism political parties



          Review: Journal of Contemporary European Research
          Review: Political Studies Review
          Review: East European Politics




        • (2010) 'Europeanized Eurosceptics? Radical right parties and European integration', Perspectives on European Politics and Society 11(3): 237-53. [peer-reviewed] free eprint

          As a potential catalyzer of political dissent, European integration has provided radical right parties with a new and powerful issue to compete on. The article assesses the impact of European integration on radical right parties by examining the adaptive strategies deployed by this party family in order to operate within a multilevel polity. Based on the record of transnational coalition-building and data on legislative activities in the European Parliament, the analysis reveals that the radical right has failed to establish itself as a relevant actor at the European level. The limited Europeanization of radical right parties is explained by the non-involvement in European policy-making and the inability to engage in durable paths of transnational cooperation resulting from divergent domestic party strategies.



        • The Front National in rural France: a microsociological approach
          Duration: since 2002
          Language: English and French
          Methodology: Collective interviews with FN voters in rural areas in Eastern France


        • (2018) ‘Penser l’extrême droite en milieu rural. Un récit de deux France?’, Apropos – Perspektiven auf die Romania 1 (1): 13–32.

          L'article s’intéresse aux succès remportés par Marine Le Pen et le Front national en milieu rural. Si ceux-ci sont régulièrement interprétés comme l’expression de l’émergence d’un clivage opposant une France urbaine à une France périphérique, l’analyse des fondements normatifs et empiriques de ce prétendu conflit spatial révèle des dynamiques socioculturelles beaucoup plus complexes. En nous basant sur une étude qualitative de terrain menée dans le département des Vosges, nous explorons les liens entre transformations socioéconomiques, récits collectifs de déprivation, propagation de rumeurs et développement du vote frontiste pour démontrer que l’essor du parti lepéniste dans certaines communes rurales échappe largement à un récit de deux France.