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Passion and politics in the English Defence League

‘Loud and proud’: Politics and passion in the English Defence League is a study of grassroots activism in what is widely considered to be a violent Islamophobic and racist organisation.

The book uses interviews, informal conversations and extended observation at EDL events to critically reflect on the gap between the movement’s public image and activists’ own understandings of it. It details how activists construct the EDL, and themselves, as ‘not racist, not violent, just no longer silent’ inter alia through the exclusion of Muslims as a possible object of racism on the grounds that they are a religiously not racially defined group. In contrast activists perceive themselves to be ‘second-class citizens’, disadvantaged and discriminated by a ‘two-tier’ justice system that privileges the rights of ‘others’. This failure to recognise themselves as a privileged white majority explains why ostensibly intimidating EDL street demonstrations marked by racist chanting and nationalistic flag waving are understood by activists as standing ‘loud and proud’; the only way of ‘being heard’ in a political system governed by a politics of silencing.

Unlike most studies of ‘far right’ movements, this book focuses not on the EDL as an organisation – its origins, ideology, strategic repertoire and effectiveness – but on the individuals who constitute the movement. Its ethnographic approach challenges stereotypes and allows insight into the emotional as well as political dimension of activism. At the same time, the book recognises and discusses the complex political and ethical issues of conducting close-up social research with ‘distasteful’ groups.

Open Access (free)
Passion and politics
Hilary Pilkington

sciences, has led to an increasingly nuanced discussion of different types of emotions in movements (Goodwin, Jasper and Polletta, 2001: 20) and how activists perform their networks through diverse bodily movements, techniques and styles, generating distinct emotional tones (Juris, 2008: 89). This shift in the field has largely bypassed studies of extreme and populist radical right movements, however, where collective emotions are seen as consciously orchestrated by leaders among masses in order to construct emotional collectives (Virchow, 2007: 148). This instrumental

in Loud and proud
Stanley R. Sloan

inspired by the idea of radical centrist populism could focus on rebuilding the popular base for the European project. Centrist leaders could reach out to the countryside – where populist radical right movements tend to get significant support – with sensible and politically sensitive approaches to dealing with refugee and other issues that have in the past created support for the radical right. Outreach, including sympathetic media coverage, would seek not only to listen to the views of the locals, but also to explain the benefits of maintaining the Western system. Such

in Transatlantic traumas
Open Access (free)
Piercing the politics of silencing
Hilary Pilkington

increasingly assertive arguments made by, or on behalf of, white working-class communities, Kenny (2012: 24) has asked whether we should rethink our tendency to treat them as expressions of ‘resentment, racism and grievance’ and consider whether they might be thought of as a form of recognition politics and, in some cases, as demands which have a ‘rational’ basis and ‘merit a more sympathetic hearing by the state’. This raises a deeper question in relation to our understanding of democracy of the possibility that populist radical right movements such as the EDL may

in Loud and proud
Abstract only
Stanley R. Sloan

strategy to combat the radical right. The reality is that, at this point, centrist political forces have not yet found the silver bullet to deal with the surge in populist radical right movements. Their strength has grown based on the refugee crisis on top of a general malaise created by social, economic and governance issues. In Chapter 7 we consider the challenge for the political center to respond effectively to the conditions that have given rise to the populist radical right. But for now, we turn to Turkey’s journey away from its Western moorings. Notes

in Transatlantic traumas
Open Access (free)
Emotion, affect and the meaning of activism
Hilary Pilkington

emotions in ­movements – shared and reciprocal (Goodwin, Jasper and Polletta, 2001: 20) – as well as between emotions as the social expression of feelings and affect as non-conscious movement between one experiential state of the body to another. In studies of anti-globalisation protests, this has led to nuanced discussion of how activists perform their networks through diverse bodily movements, techniques and styles, generating distinct identities and emotional tones (Juris, 2008: 89). In contrast, in studies of extreme and populist radical right movements, an

in Loud and proud
Aspirations to non-racism
Hilary Pilkington

in far right or populist radical right movements (in the same position the majority do not take this route), there is evidence from other studies that among young men who ‘drift’ in and out of right-wing politics, racism increases at particular stages of fragmentation and insecurity in both economic well-being and sense of identity (Cockburn, 2007: 551). How these feelings of social and economic exclusion (Chapter 6) and of cultural ‘othering’ (Chapter 5) are implicated in the activist routes taken by respondents in this study is explored in the following chapters

in Loud and proud
Abstract only
new tasks, new traumas
Stanley R. Sloan

. One expert has defined populism as a political tactic that assumes that “good people” are betrayed by an “evil elite.” 104 Ironically, populist parties may be led by the very elites they decry, as is suggested by Donald Trump’s populist following in the United States. This specific brand of populism that has risen in Europe has been called the “populist radical right (PRR)” by Dutch political scientist Cas Mudde. 105 The reality is that, at this point, centrist political forces have not yet found the silver bullet to deal with the surge in populist radical right

in Defense of the West (second edition)