Special Issue "The Global Rise of the Extreme Right"

A special issue of Social Sciences (ISSN 2076-0760). This special issue belongs to the section "Contemporary Politics and Society".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2020) | Viewed by 41383

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Kristy Campion
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Australian Graduate School of Policing and Security, Charles Sturt University Charles, 10/12 Brisbane Ave, Barton, ACT 2600, Australia
Interests: right wing extremism in Australia; terrorism and extremism in Australia; as well as the history of terrorism broadly, and how its informs contemporary terrorism through evolving and emerging strategies and concepts
Assoc. Prof. Scott Poynting
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Centre for Islamic Studies and Civilisation, Charles Sturt University P.O. Box 696, Auburn, NSW 1835, Australia
Interests: Islamophobia; hate crime; War on Terror; state crime; racism; ethnic relations; nationalism

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Does the global upsurge of far-right politics over the last two decades signal the return of fascism or a contemporary form of it? In the 1920s and 30s, far-right political movements emerged in Europe, with  fascist regimes coming to power in Italy, Germany and Spain. Racialised others were scapegoated for economic hardship and insecurities and national instabilities. Legendary past greatness was invoked as part of this ideology, and racial supremacy and ethnic exclusiveness was prescribed to effect the ‘return’ to greatness. Minority fascist movements appeared, from Britain, to North America, to Australia. Populism, scorn for elites, anti-intellectualism and blaming of ‘traitors’ were key elements of their ideology. Hungary, Croatia and Ukraine were among the places where collaboration with the Nazis left a rightwing and racist legacy, submerged by communism until its collapse. Communism was held up as a global enemy by all these rightwing movements, often in tandem with racialisation. With imperialism and militarism of industrialising Japan also spreading, through invasions, this rise of the extreme right was global and halted only by world war.

Are similar processes afoot today? Already, the casualties of neoliberalism have resorted to nativism and xenophobia, and the 2007–8 Global Financial Crisis greatly exacerbated this. The ‘Global War on Terror’, beginning in September 2001, assembled a racialised folk devil onto which insecurities were projected. From the identitarian movement in France to Golden Dawn in Greece; the English Defence League to PEGIDA in Germany and beyond; the newfound mainstreaming of France’s Front National to UKIP in Britain; rightwing parties in Sweden, the Netherlands, Austria, Italy, Hungary (Jobbik) and Poland; the Nordic Resistance Movement in Norway; Alternative für Deutschland entering the mainstream; the unexpected rise and eventual election of Donald Trump in the United States, with the ‘Muslim Ban’ on immigrants and ‘the Wall’ against Mexico; Bolsonaro in Brazil; and the upsurge of Hindu nationalism in India, rightwing politics once considered extreme is entrenched globally in the mainstream.

Political violence, including terrorism, associated with far-right and racist politics has been manifested across the globe during this period. Anders Breivik’s 2011 bombing in Oslo and mass-murder of social-democratic youth in Utøya were designed as an attack on multiculturalism and the ‘Islamisation’ of Europe; Brenton Tarrant’s massacre in Christchurch in 2019 was similarly motivated. The murder of British Labour MP Jo Cox in 2016 was perpetrated by a rightwing racist obsessed with ‘traitors’ to the nation; a rightwing racist murderously drove a van into worshippers outside Finsbury Park Mosque in 2017. In the US, far-right extremism has included Dylan Roof’s attack on the Charleston Church in 2015 and the Pittsburgh Synagogue massacre in 2018; the Charlottesville car murder in 2017 was committed by a neo-Nazi white supremacist targeting anti-racism demonstrators. Notably, the US president found ‘good people’ on ‘both sides’ at Charlottesville. Do these snapshots demonstrate a the global spread of cognate phenomena today? Are they causally connected? Are they related to the spread of fascism? Of course times are very different, as are the distinct contemporary contexts, but are there commonalities that we can learn from?

Dr. Kristy Campion
Assoc. Prof. Scott Poynting
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • right-wing extremism
  • far-right movements
  • right-wing populism
  • white supremacism
  • racist politics
  • Islamophobia
  • hate crime
  • nativism
  • radical nationalism

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
International Nets and National Links: The Global Rise of the Extreme Right—Introduction to Special Issue
Soc. Sci. 2021, 10(2), 61; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10020061 - 09 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2519
Abstract
Work on this special issue has spanned two years, bookended by two highly mediatized, violent, extreme right-wing attacks, perpetrated on opposite sides of the globe [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Global Rise of the Extreme Right)

Research

Jump to: Editorial

Article
The Visual Politics of the Alternative for Germany (AfD): Anti-Islam, Ethno-Nationalism, and Gendered Images
Soc. Sci. 2021, 10(1), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10010020 - 14 Jan 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 4674
Abstract
This article is an empirical investigation into the visual mobilization strategies by far-right political parties for election campaigns constructing Muslim immigrants as a “threat” to the nation. Drawing on an interdisciplinary theoretical approach of social movement studies and research on media and communication, [...] Read more.
This article is an empirical investigation into the visual mobilization strategies by far-right political parties for election campaigns constructing Muslim immigrants as a “threat” to the nation. Drawing on an interdisciplinary theoretical approach of social movement studies and research on media and communication, I focus on the far-right political party Alternative for Germany (AfD), which has produced several widespread inflammatory series of visual election posters featuring anti-Islam rhetoric, combined with provocative images of gender and sexuality. By approaching visual politics through a perspective on actors constructing visual forms of political mobilization, I show how far-right populist “movement parties” are supported by professional graphic designers commercializing extremist ideologies by creating ambivalent images and text messages. My findings on the AfD’s visual campaign politics document the instrumentalization and appropriation of the rhetoric of women’s empowerment and LGBT rights discourse, helping the AfD to rebrand its image as a liberal democratic opposition party, while at the same time, maintaining its illiberal political agenda on gender and sexuality. Visual representations of gender and sexuality in professionally created election posters served to ridicule and shame Muslim minorities and denounce their “Otherness”—while also promoting a heroic self-image of the party as a savior of white women and Western civilization from the threat of male Muslim migrants. By documenting the visual politics of the AfD, as embedded in transnational cooperation between different actors, including visual professional graphic designers and far-right party activists, my multimodal analysis shows how far-right movement parties marketize and commercialize their image as “progressive” in order to reach out to new voters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Global Rise of the Extreme Right)
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Article
The Rise of Fascist Formations in Chile and in the World
Soc. Sci. 2020, 9(12), 230; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci9120230 - 14 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1972
Abstract
This essay examines the contemporary crisis in Chile in the context of the rise of the global far right. What led to the popular uprising in Chile in October 2019, and what forces are represented by its violent state repression? Fascist formations are [...] Read more.
This essay examines the contemporary crisis in Chile in the context of the rise of the global far right. What led to the popular uprising in Chile in October 2019, and what forces are represented by its violent state repression? Fascist formations are currently developing in various nations; Umberto Eco’s concept of Ur-Fascism is useful in tracing the range of fascisms and their characteristics. These include populism, nationalism, racism, and syncretic traditionalism. In Chile, the racism of the far right is directed against its indigenous people more than immigrants. The ‘unfinished business’ of capitalist development here is the historical background of the oppressive relationship established by the ‘West’ over the ‘Rest’, in Stuart Hall’s terms. Fascism emerges periodically, temporarily resolving crises of accumulation through runaway activity of capital, entailing suppression of the working class and its organization. Neoliberalism has been the latest form of this exacerbation, but as its contradictions have intensified, its ideology no longer manages to mask the exploitation and secure consent. Neoliberalism, trialed in Chile after the 1973 coup under United States hegemony, became globally entrenched following the collapse of Soviet-bloc socialism and the ensuing weaknesses and crises of the organized left and the decay of social democracy. Neoliberal ideology has sustained capital at the same time as neoliberal policies have augmented the precarity of subordinated classes. As this becomes apparent with the sharpening of contradictions, the anachronistic relationship between liberalism and democracy has been deeply damaged. It becomes clear that capital’s profitability is privileged over the needs and wishes of the people. In this framework, to explore the rise and meaning of fascism is thus to examine the condition and possibilities of modernity and its limits. Modernity is besieged by pressurs coming from premodern esentialist conceptions of the world and also by the postmodernist’s view of chaos and fragmentation of a spontaneous social order; neoliberalism becomes compatible with both. Fascism lacks a coherence, but is anchored emotionally to archetypal foundations. Its very eclecticism embraces a wide range of anti-socialist and anti-capitalist discourses, which have enabled it to take root in mass movements. Its ideological resolution of the contradiction between capital and labor is temporary: the intensifying of capital accumulation activates its opposition, to the point where the distorting effect of ideology is unveiled and contradictions appear as class struggle. The longstanding imposition of neoliberalism in Chile, and the runaway activity of capital which it supported have has been rejected and partially defeated by the October 2019 rebellion in Chile. The far right has backed down but has not been defeated. The plebiscite of 25 October 2020 has delivered the people’s verdict on neoliberalism. However, in the different global and national circumstances of 2021, the fascists still among us may yet seek to reassert the order that they sought in 1973. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Global Rise of the Extreme Right)
Article
The “New Normal” and “Pandemic Populism”: The COVID-19 Crisis and Anti-Hygienic Mobilisation of the Far-Right
Soc. Sci. 2020, 9(9), 165; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci9090165 - 22 Sep 2020
Cited by 21 | Viewed by 7956
Abstract
The paper is meant as a timely intervention into current debates on the impact of the global pandemic on the rise of global far-right populism and contributes to scholarly thinking about the normalisation of the global far-right. While approaching the tension between national [...] Read more.
The paper is meant as a timely intervention into current debates on the impact of the global pandemic on the rise of global far-right populism and contributes to scholarly thinking about the normalisation of the global far-right. While approaching the tension between national political elites and (far-right) populist narratives of representing “the people”, the paper focuses on the populist effects of the “new normal” in spatial national governance. Though some aspects of public normality of our 21st century urban, cosmopolitan and consumer lifestyle have been disrupted with the pandemic curfew, the underlying gendered, racialised and classed structural inequalities and violence have been kept in place: they are not contested by the so-called “hygienic demonstrations”. A digital pandemic populism during lockdown might have pushed further the mobilisation of the far right, also on the streets. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Global Rise of the Extreme Right)
Article
Keeping the Nazi Menace Out: George Lincoln Rockwell and the Border Control System in Australia and Britain in the Early 1960s
Soc. Sci. 2020, 9(9), 158; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci9090158 - 11 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3721
Abstract
In the early 1960s, the American Nazi Party leader George Lincoln Rockwell was invited by neo-Nazi groups in Australia and Britain to come to their respective countries. On both occasions, the minister for immigration in Australia and the home secretary in Britain sought [...] Read more.
In the early 1960s, the American Nazi Party leader George Lincoln Rockwell was invited by neo-Nazi groups in Australia and Britain to come to their respective countries. On both occasions, the minister for immigration in Australia and the home secretary in Britain sought to deny Rockwell entry to the country on the grounds that he was not conducive to the public good and threatened disorder. This was done using the border control and visa system that existed in both countries, which allowed the government to exclude from entry certain individuals that were proponents of extreme or “dangerous” political ideologies. In the post-war period, explicit neo-Nazism was seen as a dangerous ideology and was grounds for exclusion of foreigners, even though domestic political parties espousing the same ideology were allowed to exist. Rockwell never came to Australia, but illicitly entered Britain via Ireland in 1962 before being deported, which highlighted potential problems for the British controlling passage across the Irish Sea. Rockwell’s exclusion and deportation also became a touchpoint for future debates in British politics about the denial of entry and deportation of political figures. This article reveals that the Australian and British governments, while allowing far-right organisations to lawfully exist in their countries, also sought to ban the entry of foreign actors who espoused similar politics. This was due to concerns about potential public disorder and violence, but also allowed both governments to portray white supremacism and racial violence as foreign to their own countries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Global Rise of the Extreme Right)
Article
Women in the Extreme and Radical Right: Forms of Participation and Their Implications
Soc. Sci. 2020, 9(9), 149; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci9090149 - 24 Aug 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 3772
Abstract
The recent inclusion of male supremacy under the umbrella of right-wing extremism (RWE) can obscure the allure that the extreme and radical right holds for some women. This study examines women’s participation in the extreme and radical right to advance a novel conceptualization [...] Read more.
The recent inclusion of male supremacy under the umbrella of right-wing extremism (RWE) can obscure the allure that the extreme and radical right holds for some women. This study examines women’s participation in the extreme and radical right to advance a novel conceptualization for engagement. Accordingly, six forms of participation are proposed, being violent actors, thinkers, facilitators, promoters, activists, and as gendered exemplars for others. This has implications for operations, ideology, and identity. First, women’s participation in violence has commonly been in conjunction with a group or a two-person dyad; it is rare that they operate as lone actors. Women also facilitate or sustain violent operations, through engaging in support activities that contribute to mission completion. Second, women create and promote radical right-wing ideology, challenge select discourses and magnify others to cultivate ideologically symbolic expressions of femininity. Third, such expressions contribute to extreme and radical belief systems, and provides select women with identity security and personal meaning. It is therefore possible to observe an ideological ecosystem spanning the extreme and radical right, in which women participate and interact. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Global Rise of the Extreme Right)
Article
The Culture of Violent Talk: An Interpretive Approach
Soc. Sci. 2020, 9(7), 120; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci9070120 - 10 Jul 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2992
Abstract
One of the defining characteristics of extremist movements is the adherence to an ideology highly antagonistic to the status quo and one that permits or explicitly promotes the use of violence to achieve stated goals and to address grievances. For members of extremist [...] Read more.
One of the defining characteristics of extremist movements is the adherence to an ideology highly antagonistic to the status quo and one that permits or explicitly promotes the use of violence to achieve stated goals and to address grievances. For members of extremist groups, talk is one of the most concrete manifestations of how adherents communicate their ideas to each other and the general public. These discussions, however, do not necessarily involve a direct correspondence between words and future behavior. To better understand the culture of violent talk, we investigate how white supremacist extremists use these discussions as a rhetorical device that provides them with a sense of doing and an opportunity to express their frustrations and anger. Our analysis is grounded primarily in the ethnographic data we collected on a variety of US white supremacists since 1997. Our investigation offers important insight regarding the interactional qualities of extremist culture as well as policy implications regarding the assessment process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Global Rise of the Extreme Right)
Article
Metapolitical New Right Influencers: The Case of Brittany Pettibone
Soc. Sci. 2020, 9(7), 113; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci9070113 - 02 Jul 2020
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 6934
Abstract
Far-right movements, activists, and political parties are on the rise worldwide. Several scholars connect this rise of the far-right at least partially to the affordances of digital media and to a new digital metapolitical battle. A lot has been written about the far-right’s [...] Read more.
Far-right movements, activists, and political parties are on the rise worldwide. Several scholars connect this rise of the far-right at least partially to the affordances of digital media and to a new digital metapolitical battle. A lot has been written about the far-right’s adoption of trolling, harassment, and meme-culture in their metapolitical strategy, but researchers have focused less on how far-right vloggers are using the practices of influencer culture for metapolitical goals. This paper tries to fill this gap and bring new theoretical insights based on a digital ethnographic case study. By analyzing political YouTuber and #pizzagate propagator Brittany Pettibone, this paper contributes to our understanding of radicalization processes in relation to the use of digital media. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Global Rise of the Extreme Right)
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Article
Framing “The Gypsy Problem”: Populist Electoral Use of Romaphobia in Italy (2014–2019)
Soc. Sci. 2020, 9(6), 105; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci9060105 - 17 Jun 2020
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2624
Abstract
Xenophobic arguments have long been at the center of the political discourse of the Lega party in Italy, nonetheless Matteo Salvini, the new leader, capitalizing on diffused Romaphobia, placed Roma people at the center of his political discourse, institutionalizing the “Camp visit” as [...] Read more.
Xenophobic arguments have long been at the center of the political discourse of the Lega party in Italy, nonetheless Matteo Salvini, the new leader, capitalizing on diffused Romaphobia, placed Roma people at the center of his political discourse, institutionalizing the “Camp visit” as an electoral event. Through the analysis of eight consecutive electoral campaigns, in a six year period, mixing computer-based quantitative and qualitative content analysis and framing analysis, this study aims to display how Roma communities are portrayed in Matteo Salvini’s discourse. The study describes how “Gypsies” are framed as a threat to society and how the proposed solution—a bulldozer to raze all of the camps to the ground—is presented as the only option. The paper concludes that representing Roma as an “enemy” that “lives among us”, proves to be the ideal tool to strengthen the “us versus them” tension, characteristic of populist discourse. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Global Rise of the Extreme Right)
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