Radicalization and the Discourse of Race and Religion: A comparative Analysis of Extreme Right in It...
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Radicalization and the Discourse of Race and Religion: A comparative Analysis of Extreme Right in Italy and Germany. Donatella della Porta Manuela Caiani Claudius Wagemann European University Institute Workshop Politicization & Radicalization 25-27 July 2008 VU University Amsterdam.

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Radicalization and the Discourse of Race and Religion: A comparative Analysis of Extreme Right in Italy and Germany

Donatella della Porta

Manuela Caiani

Claudius Wagemann

European University Institute

Workshop Politicization & Radicalization

25-27 July 2008

VU University Amsterdam


The veto project
The VETO Project comparative Analysis of Extreme Right in Italy and Germany

  • VETO: Violent Extremist Terrorist Organizations (START center of the University of Maryland-EUI, Florence)

  • Main idea: Radicalization of political activism (origins of political violence)

  • Comparative case study: The extreme right in Italy and Germany (later: US)

  • 3 Components: frame analysis, network analysis, protest event analysis


Approaching right wing extremism
Approaching Right-Wing Extremism comparative Analysis of Extreme Right in Italy and Germany

  • Pathologies of behavior of activists (irrationality)

  • Breakdown theories vs. ‘resource mobilization’ approaches

  • “Cultural turn” in social movement research

  • Social mechanisms that intervene between macro-causes and macro-effects


Basic Assumptions comparative Analysis of Extreme Right in Italy and Germany

Structural effects are mediated by the militants’ perception of the reality through which their political involvement develops.

The use of violence can be understood only within the context of an individual's political career, during which collective identities are built and transformed through collective processes.

In order to understand radical politics-as other forms of politics-it is therefore important to investigate individual and group understanding of the external reality, as well as their position in it.


Method triangulation strategy in veto
Method: triangulation strategy in VETO comparative Analysis of Extreme Right in Italy and Germany

  • Three different analytical approaches: frame analysis, network analysis, protest event analysis

  • Three different sources for the frame analysis

  • Quantitative and qualitative modules for each analytical approach


  • Frame analysis: cognitive mechanisms which are comparative Analysis of Extreme Right in Italy and Germany relevant in influencing organizational and individual behavior.

  • Network analysis: (inter-)organizational structural characteristics of the extreme right milieu.

  • Protest event analysis: broad repertoire of collective action undertaken by right-wing extremists over the last decade.


Extreme right and religion
Extreme Right and Religion comparative Analysis of Extreme Right in Italy and Germany

  • Recent radicalization of some political conflicts, up to the extreme forms of terrorism

  • New attention to the role of religious cleavages in politics (and their escalation)

  • Intensification of the ‘Clash of Civilizations’ rhetoric

Main question:

How far extremist, especially right-wing extremist forces deal with the new focusing of the public discourse on the religious dimension? Or, more explicitly, to which extent are extreme right organizations in Italy and Germany ready and willing to exploit the new attention to religion by adapting their frames and re-orienting their action repertoires?


Cases and sources frame analysis
Cases and Sources: Frame analysis comparative Analysis of Extreme Right in Italy and Germany

  • For each country: 3 different types of extreme right organizations (a political party, a political movement, a sub-cultural skinhead group) and written documents

  • Germany

    • NPD: newspaper

    • Nationales Bündnis Dresden (NBD): online forum of discussion

    • Comradeships Neu-Ulm and Hochfranken (‘Kameradschaften’): websites

  • Italy

    • Forza Nuova: newspaper

    • Veneto Fronte Skinheads: monthly magazine

    • Camerata Virtuale: on line forum of discussion

  • Data collected: 4000 statements, 2001-2006

  • Categories for the Coding:

    Issue field

    Subject actor

    Object actor

    Ally actor

    Action

    (Non-action)

    “is/ will/ should”


Cases and sources protest event analysis
Cases and Sources comparative Analysis of Extreme Right in Italy and Germany: protest event analysis

  • Sources:

    German (“Taz”) and Italian newspapers ( “La Repubblica”), Search strings

  • Data collected: 645 protest events, 2000-2007

  • Categories for the Coding:

    Type of action

    Actor

    Participants (numbers)

    Wounded, arrested, denounced activists

    Targets of protest

    Object of protest

    Issue fields

    Counter events


Table 1: Broader issue fields comparative Analysis of Extreme Right in Italy and Germanytreated in the statements(percentage)


Focusing on christianity values and law order frames
Focusing on Christianity: Values and Law & Order (frames) comparative Analysis of Extreme Right in Italy and Germany

Table 2: Statements related to value issues


Focusing on christianity values and law order protest events
Focusing on Christianity: Values and Law & Order (protest events)

Table 4: Protest events related to value issues



Focusing on islam immigration and security
Focusing on Islam: Immigration and Security events)

Table 5: Statements (frames) and events related to specific immigration issues

Statements

Protest events


Actors
Actors events)

  • Muslims in frames: In Germany, ‘Muslims’ are mentioned only in 0.1% (n = 2) of all statements coded. ‘Foreigners (in general)’ are mentioned in 2.8% of all statements.

  • Muslims in protest events: In Italy, actions directed against the ‘immigrants (in general)’ account for 4.7% of all covered events. Among them, 2.6% of events are specifically against Muslims.


Focusing on the jewish religion history and national identity
Focusing on the Jewish Religion: History and National Identity

Table 7: Statements (frames) and events related to historical and identity issues

Statements

Protest events


Focusing on the jewish religion history and national identity1
Focusing on the Jewish Religion: History and National Identity

Table 8: Actors related to anti-Semitism


  • The category ‘religious minorities’, represents the third most frequent target of extreme right actions in Italy, accounting for 7.7% of all codified events.

    Within this general category: 6.2% of events refer to ‘Jews’, or to specific ‘leading representatives of Jews’, or to ‘Israel’.


Conclusions
Conclusions third most frequent

  • Religion per se does not seem to play much of a role in the discourses and actions of the extreme right as religion per se is rarely mentioned and acted upon,in both countries

  • Frames and protest events are however linked to religious discourses in more complex ways.

  • Country specificities:

    • Form of fundamentalist Catholicism propagated by extreme right groups in Italy

    • Definition of a religious dimension in anti-Semitism in Germany


Conclusions1
…Conclusions third most frequent

  • Sociological processes activated around religion in politics:religion as cultural or structural phenomenon?

    • Usefulness of the frame analysis: The use of concepts like (religious) ideology, appears as too broad to take into account the specific political adaptations of specific aspects of the broad and heterogeneous culture of each religion.

    • Importance to look at the actions of protest: They are at the same time the sites for expression of ideas, but also contribute to the reproduction of them.A structural approach to the “religious revival” has to focus on the organizational activation of the resources into actions.


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