1st Edition

Pathways to Violence Against Migrants Space, Time and Far Right Violence in Sweden 2012–2017

By Måns Lundstedt Copyright 2024

    Pathways to Violence Against Migrants traces the different pathways, or combinations of causal mechanisms, that lead from nonviolent opposition to migration into anti-migrant violence.

    Applying the conceptual apparatus of social movement studies (frames, relations, opportunities, and collective emotions), the book develops six distinct sequences of causal mechanisms. These show how violence can develop through rapid processes of moral outrage and far-right mobilisation, through long processes of uneven demobilisation and escalation or independently of any nonviolent protest at all. The six pathways are developed through a comparative, mixed-methods study of 81 cases of anti-migrant violence in Sweden between 2012 and 2017. The cases involve various actors (ranging from unorganised youth gangs and village associations to neo-Nazi organisations) as well as very different types and intensities of violence (from death threats to arson attacks and bombings). Demonstrating the diversity of pathways to violence in a restricted setting and against a restricted category of targets, the book argues strongly against reducing the causes of violence to individual pathology, to ideological “extremism”, or to any single explanatory model.

    This book will be of interest to researchers of political violence, the far right, anti-migrant politics, racism, and social movements.


    List of abbreviations

    List of tables

    1 Introduction

    2 Space, time, and violence

    3 The challenges of studying far-right violence

    4 Setting the scene: Migrant accommodation and protest in Sweden, 2012–2017

    5 Parallel pathways to violence: Moral outrage and nationalist opportunism

    6 Gradual pathways to violence: Privatisation and escalation

    7 Independent pathways: Subcultural and autonomous cell violence

    8 Comparing the pathways

    9 Conclusions


    Methodological appendix: Sources and coding



    Måns Lundstedt is a researcher at the Department of Global Political Studies (GPS), Malmö University, and the Department of Sociology and Work Sciences, University of Gothenburg. He has a Ph.D. in Sociology and Political Science from the Faculty of Social Sciences, Scuola Normale Superiore. His research concerns migration, integration, collective action, far-right protest, and political violence.