Liberal Roots of Far Right Activism: The Anti-Islamic Movement in the 21st Century, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Liberal Roots of Far Right Activism

The Anti-Islamic Movement in the 21st Century, 1st Edition

By Lars Erik Berntzen


232 pages | 48 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2019-10-08
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This book explores the anti-Islamic turn and expansion of the far right in Western Europe, North America and beyond from 2001 and onwards.

Driven by terror attacks and other moral shocks, the anti-Islamic cause has undergone four waves of transnational expansion in the period since 2001. The leaders and intellectuals involved have varied backgrounds, many coming from the left, uniting historically opposed sets of values under their banner of a civilizational struggle against Islam. The findings presented in this book indicate that anti-Islamic initiatives in Western Europe and the United States form a transnational movement and subculture characterized by fragile balance between liberal and authoritarian values. The author draws on a broad array of data sources and methods, including network analysis and sentiment analysis, to analyze the impact of the anti-Islamic expansion and turn at a macro level, and the theoretical implications for our understanding of the current far right flowing from this. Offering an overview of anti-Islamic activism, the book explores the background of their leaders and ideologues, provides an in-depth look at their ideology, online organizational networks, and the views expressed by their online members as well as which emotions and messages continue to drive their mobilization.

The book will be of interest to scholars in the social movement field as well as political scientists, sociologists, and general readers interested in issues such as populism, extremism and understanding the ways in which the contemporary far right challenges liberal democracies.

Table of Contents

1. Far Right and Liberal?

2. Perspectives on the Far Right

3. Mapping a Movement

4. Expansion and Legacy

5. Worldviews

6. Networks

7. Mobilization

8. Transnational and Semi-Liberal

Addendum: The Toll of Intolerance

Appendix I

Appendix II

About the Author

Lars Erik Berntzen is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Department of Comparative Politics, University of Bergen, Norway. Berntzen currently studies affective, identity-based polarization in Western Europe using a combination of panel based survey experiments and social media experiments. He studied sociology at the University of Bergen, before taking his PhD at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy.

About the Series

Extremism and Democracy

This series covers academic studies within the broad fields of ‘extremism’ and ‘democracy’, with volumes focusing on adjacent concepts such as populism, radicalism, and ideological/religious fundamentalism. These topics have been considered largely in isolation by scholars interested in the study of political parties, elections, social movements, activism, and radicalisation in democratic settings. A key focus of the series, therefore, is the (inter-)relation between extremism, radicalism, populism, fundamentalism, and democracy. Since its establishment in 1999, the series has encompassed both influential contributions to the discipline and informative accounts for public debate. Works will seek to problematise the role of extremism, broadly defined, within an ever-globalising world, and/or the way social and political actors can respond to these challenges without undermining democratic credentials.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Ideologies / General