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SAMKUL-Samfunnsutviklingens kulturell

From the Radical to the Norm: The Construction of Normalcy Through Aesthetics in Far-Right Culture

Alternative title: Fra det radikale til normen: konstruksjonen av normalitet gjennom estetikk i høyreekstrem kultur

Awarded: NOK 8.0 mill.

Much research has been dedicated to the question of why people support, and ultimately join, far-right movements. People are attracted for many reasons: one of the major reasons being an attraction to the subculture surrounding the far-right movement, rather than the ideologies themselves. This means that people find the aesthetics, the music, activities, and general culture of the movement so attractive that they join and ultimately start to believe in their ideas. The Radical-Norm project takes this idea one step further, looking at how the far-right has managed to normalize some of its concepts and beliefs in mainstream society. The project will aim to do this by looking at the aesthetics and cultural production of the movement from the point of view of some main themes: historical narratives, gender, spirituality (including religion), and the environment (including nature and animals). Through this, we hope to gain a better understanding of how hateful movements can influence everyday society.

From the Radical to the Norm: The Construction of Normalcy Through Aesthetics in Far-Right Culture (RADICAL-NORM) aims to understand how the far right attempt to normalize their ideas through aesthetics and cultural products. RADICAL-NORM will analyze data from social media channels and far-right websites to gain insight into their cultural production and aesthetics, specifically through images, fashion, and music. To investigate the far right's construction of normalcy through images, fashion, and music, the project uses four main themes: history, gender, religion, and environmentalism. RADICAL-NORM has three major contributions: (1) to fill a gap in the scholarship of the far right by investigating culture production of its actors (including far-right organizations and individuals) – a topic that is largely understudied withing scholarship of the far right; (2) to create broader implications for understanding how culture can influence political processes; and (3) to provide new empirical data on the cultural production of the far right in a combination that has not yet been done, namely collecting data from the digital sphere on imagery, fashion, and music. Finally, the project will result in a new and innovative critical exhibition at the Norwegian Center for Holocaust and Minority Studies (HL-Center), on the cultural production and aesthetics of the far right, serving to educate the public and work to prevent radicalization through promoting awareness. The findings of RADICAL-NORM are expected to deepen our understanding of the ways in which radicalized individuals and groups attempt to normalize their values and ideas in order to recruit support for their cause and promote social exclusion and social divisions.

Funding scheme:

SAMKUL-Samfunnsutviklingens kulturell