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Accepted Paper:

Far (from being) right? Radical youth movements and the European project  


Agnieszka Pasieka (University of Vienna)

Paper short abstract:

Drawing on the ethnographic research with far-right activists in Italy and Poland, my paper discusses the ways in which particular EU policies and particular strands of social scientific scholarship affect far-right activism, constituting both an object of critique and a source of inspiration.

Paper long abstract:

Prompted by the conveners' call to consider the European project as one of the sources of the present-day anti-liberal, exclusionary politics, in my paper I would like to offer some reflections from my fieldwork with far-right youth militants and present their ways of thinking about and acting for (what they consider) "Europe." Drawing on the ethnographic research in Italy and Poland, I shall highlight the ways in which particular EU policies and particular strands of social scientific and philosophical scholarship converge and affect far-right activism, constituting an object of critique or, in turn, being picked up and adopted by militants. I am particularly interested in activists' discourses on "diversity" and "pluralism" which foreground the ways in which social scientific scholarship and "multicultural" policies become "complicit" in the process of strengthening the far-right agenda. In so doing, I combine the reflections on the "dark shadows" of the European project with yet another argument recently put forward by Douglas Holmes, the one suggesting we cannot limit ourselves to proposing an "anthropology of fascism" but we also need to strive to understand the "anthropology that operates within fascism (Holmes 2016).

My presentation will draw on ethnographic materials from Italy and Poland, which, despite a different history of "Europeanization," can be said to demonstrate a series of similar developments, including the growing appeal of the neo-nationalist rhetoric and the presence of different political realities dubbed the "Right."

Panel P131
Getting 'the Right' right: Comparative ethnographies of neo-nationalist movements in Europe