Far-right reflexology: a periphery-to-centre approach for the study of the far-right

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To address the problem of participant access, central in the study ofthe far-right, scholars of far-right mobilisations navigate between amethodological rock and a hard place. Either scholars produce in-depth qualitative accounts, putting their safety and ethicalcommitments at risk, or scholars study far-right mobilisations from adistance and produce limited externalist accounts that centre largesurveys, quantitative studies and electoral analysis at the expense ofgranular detail. Inspired by the medical logics of reflexology, Ipropose one solution to this impasse that understands theimpenetrable centres of far-right networks through theirperipheries. I argue that far-right network peripheries—often moreaccessible to scholars—share personnel, information and resourceswith network centres, revealing much about these often secretivecentral organizational nodes. I advocate for deep qualitative workon the far-right (thus avoiding externalist pitfalls) but in theperipheries of far-right networks (thus avoiding safety and ethicalrisks). Refocusing on far-right peripheries opens a number ofanalytical doors that decentre the study of electoral politics andrefocus on far-right embeddedness in civil society networks.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-331
Number of pages23
JournalPolitics, Religion and Ideology
Issue number3
Early online date6 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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