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The contemporary radical right - from margin to the mainstream?

Aim and Objectives

The aim of the project is to examine the impact of the recent rise of the radical right in contemporary Europe on the life of minority groups. The project focuses on the one hand on the security dimension implicit in the escalating number of violent attacks on members of ethnic minorities, often carried out or instigated by members of extremist right-wing groups. On the other hand, addressing the increasing importance of right wing populism in mainstream politics in a number of countries in Europe, the project will also trace the effects of the radicalisation of the mainstream political agenda in some countries on the political participation of minorities to public life.

Background

In recent years, Europe has witnessed a growth in the popularity of right wing populist parties, often promoting, directly or in veiled form, xenophobic or anti-immigration agendas. Extremist right wing groups are also making an unfortunate comeback, visible in the increased incidence of violent attacks carried out against members of ethnic minorities. More alarmingly, the activities and discourse promoted by radical right groups sometimes hark back to the legacy of interwar fascism, as reflected either in the active adoption of fascist symbols and rhetoric by certain groups, or in revisionist approaches to the atrocities committed by fascist movements and regimes. As such, this project will analyse the resurgence of the contemporary radical right according to a twofold division, dealing first with the populist right wing parties that promote an exclusionary agenda from within the democratic political system, and second with the extremist cellular groups and networks that are becoming increasingly difficult to censor due to their extensive use of the new media.

Action Setup and Outcomes

The increasing convergence of the Eastern and Western European radical right calls for an integrated approach to this phenomenon at a European level. However, any such approach would also need to be sensitive to the historical specificities of the countries under consideration, as these are often reflected in the discourse and activities of contemporary right-wing groups. Partly related to the project on the proliferation of hate speech in online media, the present research could thus make a theoretical contribution to the conceptualisation of the new type of threats facing minority communities in contemporary Europe. Practically, since the increase in the popularity of right wing populist parties and radical right groups is partly related to voter apathy and lack of participation to the democratic political process, launching a set of targeted awareness-raising campaigns, especially among young people, regarding the threat posed by the radical right or the value of diversity for a multicultural Europe, has the potential to counteract exclusionary, nationalist rhetoric. The involvement of civil society by promoting alternative forms of political mobilisation emphasising grassroots activism will also represent a valuable tool in combating these phenomena.  

Activities

  • Erasmus+ Project “Fighting Right Wing Populism”, in cooperation with CRISP Berlin (2014)
  • Organisation of a conference on this topic in 2016
  • ECMI Working Paper; publication of a special issue of JEMIE
  • Training courses for relevant non-governmental organisations; creation of a network of academia, civil society and government representatives

Timeframe

2014-2016

Partner Institutions

CRISP Berlin (Germany)

Contact

Dr. Raul Cârstocea

See the announcements and news on the project here.

ECMI founders:

The German Federal GovernmentThe German
Federal Government
The Danish GovernmentThe Danish
Government
The Federal State Schleswig-HolsteinThe Federal State
Schleswig-Holstein