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Managing Hate: Political Delinquency and Affective Governance in Germany

By Nitzan Shoshan

Cite As:
Shoshan, Nitzan. 2014. “Managing Hate: Political Delinquency and Affective Governance in Germany”. Cultural Anthropology 29 (1):150-72.


The governance of young right-extremists in Germany has spawned a proliferation of therapeutic procedures for their political rectification. This article examines three such efforts in order to expose the excesses and paradoxes that dovetail with, and at times seem to overwhelm, the presumed biopolitical rationality of governance. The penal regimes that bear on young right-extremists call into being a peculiar figure: the political delinquent. In turn, these regimes form part of what I call the management of hate, a wide field of knowledge/praxis invested in governing the relation of German publics to cultural alterity. The elaboration and administration of corrective methods to political delinquents, key to the management of hate, thus reveals itself as inscribed within cultural and political aporias, rather than as fundamentally concerned with the economistic management of populations. Specifically, the intractable specter of National Socialism and the troubled relation of contemporary German nationalism to immigration and difference haunt these therapeutic regimes, which often end up inciting precisely those affective dispositions they seek to curb. The governance of hate in Germany, I conclude, reveals itself as a politically-charged social field, suffused with historical specters and cultural antinomies, and generative of tautological irrationalities and inexorable excesses.


governance; hate; nationalism; affect; Germany