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Researching Right-Wing Populism: Political, Methodological and Ethical Challenges
Marion Naeser-Lather (University of Marburg)
Marion Hamm (University of Klagenfurt)
Juraj Buzalka (FSES Comenius University)
Ingo Schröder (University of Marburg)
Thursday 23 July, 8:30-10:30, 11:00-13:00 (UTC+1)

Short abstract:

The panel discusses conceptual and ethical issues as well as novel approaches to the (ethnographic) study of right-wing populism. It addresses epistemologies, political positioning, appropriate methods and theoretical perspectives.

Long abstract:

The rise of the Right across Europe and the globe has caught political analysts and democratic citizens quite unprepared. Anthropologists are only just beginning to focus their attention on the expressions, histories, and social ramifications of right-wing populism. The accordant nascent research field is still fraught with uncertainty regarding definitions, approaches, appropriate research methods, and ethics.

An important issue concerns the political role of anthropology and its responsibility vis-à-vis the anti-democratic effects of the new right-wing movements. Questions arise regarding anthropology's own stance towards a cultural configuration to which the populist Right refers and in which the Right is an appealing option today, the position of ethnographers interacting with people who deny democratic principles, as well as their awareness of entanglements of populist and anti-capitalist discourses.

The panel aims to contribute to an emerging anthropology of the populist Right by asking the following questions:

• How can concepts like "far-right" or "populism" be defined in anthropological terms?

• How to deal with the "repugnant other" as research partner?

• How do/can anthropologists negotiate their - relativist, anti-fascist, activist or other - position in research fields on the extreme Right?

• Which elements from anthropology's methodological toolkit appear most promising and which ones problematic?

• Which classical anthropological concepts and theoretical perspectives can be applied to analyzing the Right?

• How may novel anthropological approaches to right-wing phenomena look like?

Empirical and theoretical contributions are invited from a broad range of research settings across Europe and beyond.