Entpolitisierte Abstinenz oder politische Partizipation qua Konsum?

Ein Desiderat zur Erforschung politischen Engagements im Neoliberalismus

Harald Strauß, Hochschule für Technik Stuttgart, Studiengang KlimaEngineering

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What is the voter‘s attitude towards the neoliberalist impregnation of the leading political parties in Germany? The question of the preconditions of active political involvement and participation overlaps with sovereignty itself, in the sense of empowerment on a democratic basis, not only in its structure but based on values that would not contradict its course. Either the observed decrease both of party membership and voter participation is due to a postdemocratic change in the sense of simulative democracy caused by depoliticization in the core of subjectivity (as Blühdorn suggests). The possibility of an apathetic sovereign and a growing distance between expert-driven politics and a less organized people (as Crouch suggests) remains. Or, the public has probably understood the market-driven message of neoliberal politics presenting itself as of no alternative and thus reacts to it with active abandonment and alienation, even more: indifference. The latter case, however, does not imply a total lack of political interest (as several surveys at least in Germany show) but rather makes a strong case for cluelessness and deference to the given economic circumstances. In any case, both lines of argument cast a shadow on the future of political involvement and dedication. This paper discusses a possible approach to investigate the matter by analyzing the programs of Germany political parties in order to show the above mentioned impregnation and formulating the required parts of such research. In fact, a qualitative instrument to measure the depth of neoliberal attitude in the citizen’s mindset is required, as the existing formats to research political attitudes do not provide such an instrument. This is partly due to the lack of a concept that covers the cornerstones of the neoliberal ideology. Within this paper the first conceptual steps towards such an instrument (N-Scale) are taken, mainly focusing on which questions definitely should be part of it. Overall the necessity to conduct further research on this matter reveals itself with regard to the shifting understanding of democracy that is expressed, e.g., in contemporary terms like »market-conform democracy«.

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