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FRIHUMSAM-Fri prosj.st. hum og sam

Investigating Contested Theories on Extreme-Right Terrorism

Alternative title: En studie av omdiskuterte teorier om høyreekstrem terror

Awarded: NOK 8.0 mill.

Project Number:

324201

Project Period:

2021 - 2026

Location:

Partner countries:

This project investigates how political violence is shaped by shifting political climates. Donald Trump’s performance as President of the United States gave momentum to two of the most contested theories on the causes of extreme-right terrorism and violence: representation and repression. Representation concerns whether the presence of far-right actors in parliaments and governments might fuel or dampen extreme-right violence. Repression concerns whether repressive measures targeting far-right actors, or the lack thereof, might fuel or dampen extreme-right violence. Both theories feed into opposing views on whether political extremism should be tolerated or rejected in liberal democracies. Both theories also produce mixed results in different contexts. Therefore, more comparative research is needed to untangle the seemingly contradictory effects of far-right representation and repression on extreme-right violence. However, such comparative research has thus far been limited because data suitable for comparing variation over time and between countries have been lacking. To address these shortcomings, the INCONTEXT project will develop a new dataset measuring far-right representation and repression in Western democracies since 1990. In addition, the project will merge data from two existing datasets – the Right-Wing Terrorism and Violence (RTV) dataset and the United States Extremist Crime Database (ECDB). In combination, these two datasets will cover the evolution of extreme-right terrorism and violence in all Western democracies since 1990. Drawing on these new data, the project will then systematically compare how the relationships between representation, repression and extreme-right violence have unfolded in different countries, and in doing so, uncover mechanisms leading to more violence and mechanisms leading to less violence.

This project investigates how political violence is shaped by shifting political climates. Donald Trump’s performance as President of the United States gave momentum to two of the most contested theories on the causes of extreme-right terrorism and violence: representation and repression. Representation concerns whether the presence of far-right actors in parliaments and governments might fuel or dampen extreme-right violence. Repression concerns whether repressive measures targeting far-right actors, or the lack thereof, might fuel or dampen extreme-right violence. Both theories feed into opposing views on whether political extremism should be tolerated or rejected in liberal democracies. Both theories also seem to be producing mixed results in different contexts. Therefore, more comparative research is needed to untangle the seemingly contradictory effects of far-right representation and repression on extreme-right violence. However, such comparative research has thus far been limited because data suitable for comparing variation over time and between countries have been lacking. To address these shortcomings, the INCONTEXT project will develop a new dataset measuring far-right representation and repression in Western democracies since 1990. In addition, the project will merge data from two existing datasets – the Right-Wing Terrorism and Violence (RTV) dataset and the United States Extremist Crime Database (ECDB). In combination, these two datasets will cover the evolution of extreme-right terrorism and violence in all Western democracies since 1990. Drawing on these new data, the project will then combine cross-case studies using Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) with within-case studies using process-tracing to enable the discovery of causal conditions, as well as their corresponding casual mechanisms, that might help explain why representation and repression impacts positively on extreme-right violence in some countries, but negatively in others.

Funding scheme:

FRIHUMSAM-Fri prosj.st. hum og sam