What is the politics of fear and what can fiction tell us about migration stories?

After a summer break, we’re back talking to Professor Ruth Wodak, The University of Lancaster and the University of Vienna, about her new book on populism, as well as to fiction writers Olumide Popoola and Annie Holmes, who have written a fictional book on the situation in Calais.

These parties try to represent themselves as the saviours of “the people”.

Ruth Wodak

In her new book, The Political of Fear: What Populist Discourses Mean, Ruth Wodak,  Emerita Distinguished Professor at the Department of Linguistics and English Language, explains how populist discourses function and how they have moved to the centre-stage of politics. She discusses how populist discourses uses notions of nationalism and identity to present scenarios of danger and fear. She also talks about the upcoming Austrian presidential election, where the populist candidate is up against the green candidate. The election, Wodak argues, will probably be determined by the conservative voters.

Refrigerated trucks are the best bet. If the smuggler is skilful, if he can open the padlock to let them in then close it again so that no one can tell it’s been tampered with, then the police are less likely to check a freezer than any other kind of truck.

Extract from Breach

Olumide Popoola and Annie Holmes both travelled to the border town of Calais in order to write a fiction book portraying the situation from the many different perspectives of the people living there. The book breach covers eight short stories told from the perspective of migrants, volunteers and local residents. We first hear authors Popoola and Holmes read an extract each from the book, before talking about what it was like researching and writing the book.