College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences Theses and Dissertations

Graduation Date


Document Type


Department/Program Conferring Degree

International Studies


emotions, social media, pegida, nationalism, Islamophobia


In this thesis, I investigate the process of rememoration and Sara Ahmed’s notion of ‘sticky associations’ on Lutz Bachmann’s Instagram—founder of the Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the Occident (Pegida)—from October 2015 to March 2021. I argue that Instagram becomes a stage in a performance of ‘the people’ vis-à-vis the migrant Other. Through the repetition of posts, hashtags, and comments that dehumanize migrants and disparage the German government, Bachmann and his following circulate emotions that carry political ‘stickiness’ that attaches to some bodies and objects, but not to others. Stickiness creates boundaries around the ‘we’ and the ‘them,’ and I draw attention to how stickiness accumulates through Bachmann’s Instagram posts from the start of the European refugee crisis to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although Pegida is a small right-wing fringe group in Germany, this analysis aims to disrupt the illusionary and performative nature of social media spaces at a greater scale and to demonstrate how these platforms facilitate the growth of polarizing, tribal mentalities.