Radicalisation and the Discourse of Race and Religion
SPS European University Institute Firenze, Italy
Both radicalisation of ethnic/religious cleavages and the extreme right are significant phenomena in European politics of the 21st century. While "Equality, justice and social inclusion" are words frequently used in discussions on the development of the European Union, as we move into the new millennium there are growing signs of revitalization of the extreme right.
In this paper, we will focus on how the extreme right reacts to the wide variety of ethno-cultural and national affiliations and identities of our societies, by looking at frames (or "interpretative schemata") as an intervening variable between organizational choices and context characteristics. The basic assumption is that structural effects are mediated by the militants? perception of reality through which their political involvement develops. Thus, the analysis of perceptions, shared by individuals and groups, is one of the main tools for determining the link between individual motivations (at the micro level) and environmental conditions (at the macro level) (della Porta 1992). In order to understand radical politics it is therefore important to investigate the individual and group understanding of the external reality, as well as the positions of the activists within it (della Porta 2005).
We shall address these issues by investigating how "religious/ethnic" diversity is framed in extremist right wing discourses, comparing different countries (Italy and Germany) and different types of right wing organizations (political parties, violent subcultural/young right wing groups, and political movements). The study will be based on a frames analysis conducted on several types of organizational documents (newspapers, websites, online guest books and forums, and other forms of publications), covering a period from 2000-2005, for a total of 4000 frames. Protest event analysis will be also used with a focus on the main targets of radical rights attacks.