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Populist Resentments and their Impact on Investor, Client and Hiring Relations in Thuringia. The Construction of Geographies of Inequality

Authors: Sebastian Henn*, University of Jena, Matthias Hannemann, University of Jena
Topics: Economic Geography, Business Geography, Europe
Keywords: Inequalities, resentments, populism, Eastern Germany
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

In the context of the debate about the current political changes that characterize numerous Western societies, sometimes the hypothesis is put forward that regions that are particularly affected by rising populism would be thrown back in their economic development as foreign investors are deterred, firms lose competences to serve foreign markets and/or as it becomes difficult for them to attract skilled workers to their locations. The question whether such causalities really exists, however, has not yet been systematically explored; in particular, there is a lack of understanding of the mechanisms that explain how populistic resentments on the firm level affect regional economic development. This presentation aims at closing this research gap and by so doing at contributing to the emerging debate on geographic inequalities. In particular, our study does not aim to statistically analyze the influences between the political orientation of the population and the attractiveness of a particular region. Rather, we seek to answer the question how social relations and (constructed) intersubjective inequalities in firms constitute new geographies of inequality. Our empirical analysis focuses on Thuringia and thus on a region in Eastern Germany in which xenophobic resentments have increased significantly within only a few years.

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