Bridging language barriers, bonding against immigrants: A visual case study of transnational network publics created by far-right activists in Europe

Author(s) : Nicole Doerr

Source :


« With the growing importance of digital and social media, visual images represent an increasingly attractive medium for far-right political entrepreneurs to mobilize supporters and mainstream voters in the context of increasing polarization and widespread fears of immigrants and refugees. This article investigates how far-right activists use cartoon images poking fun at immigrants to construct a shared ethno-nationalist bond of solidarity across multilingual and transnational networks and publics. Focusing on right-wing activists as political entrepreneurs, I will explore the visual and discursive translation of nationalist symbols and cartoons within different national political contexts and across linguistic and cultural boundaries. Combining the discourse historical approach (DHA) with multimodal analysis, I will trace the cross-cultural translation and sharing of an anti-immigrant poster created by the Swiss People’s Party (SVP), a right-wing political party in Switzerland, in its controversial ‘black sheep’ campaign. Second, I will show how far-right sympathizers in Italy and Germany, inspired by the SVP, created their own ‘black sheep’ cartoons in which they imagine a racist bond of transnational solidarity through the use of images depicting immigrants as Europe’s other. This article contributes to the study of transnational network publics by showing the relevance of non-verbal and visual translation strategies used by radical right-wing political entrepreneurs to forge stronger alliances cross-nationally and cross-linguistically. »

Keywords : Anti-immigrant images, far-right political activists, linguistic boundaries, translation


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