Anna A. Meier
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Critical reflexivity and research on state responses to the far right
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How can white researchers ethically approach the study of state responses to far-right violence in white-majority countries? The status of white supremacy as a hegemonic ideology in such countries complicates attempts to understand state programmes targeting the far right, as the very ideologies that enable far-right violence are also structurally embedded in the institutions seeking to combat it. Likewise, the white researchers best positioned to access majority white counterterrorism spaces are also the most likely to reproduce white supremacy, however inadvertently. I reflect on ethnographic encounters with counterterrorism professionals in both my home country, the US, and during fieldwork abroad in Germany, as sites requiring critical reflexivity. Through an autoethnographic approach, I consider how my identities and those of my interlocutors may have reproduced the very dynamics of institutional grappling with white supremacy otherwise unobservable to me as a researcher. I offer suggestions on how such encounters can reorient research questions and what limitations remain on white researchers doing ethical work on this subject.

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The ethics of researching the far right

Critical approaches and reflections

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