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Beyond the electoral paradigm: Perspectives on the mobilisation strategies of the far right

Comparative Politics
Extremism
Nationalism
Populism
Social Movements
Mobilisation
Protests
P037
Andrea L. P. Pirro
Scuola Normale Superiore
Pietro Castelli Gattinara
Universitetet i Oslo
Sarah De Lange
University of Amsterdam

Abstract

Far-right mobilisation is in the ascendant. A plethora of collective actors with an ideological commitment to nativism are making headlines—not only for their electoral exploits, but also their engagement in the protest arena. The contemporary far right spans from relatively established political parties geared towards elections and public office, to street movements and loosely organised networks of activists mobilising through protest, contention, and violence. And yet, the social movement dimension of far-right politics remains a blind spot in the scholarly literature. Furthermore, while far-right mobilisation during elections and in the streets are often seen to respond to different logics, events such as the storming of the US Capitol by Trump supporters, show that the electoral and protest arenas are increasingly interconnected. Far-right parties in fact often stem from movements, interact with them, and adopt their tactics. In essence, what happens at the grassroots level may serve electoral purposes, whereas developments at the electoral level may further legitimise and mobilise nativist protest action. Uncovering the intersection between protest and electoral mobilisation is crucial to assess the changing structures of political conflict in Europe, as it sheds light on how the far-right integrates campaign strategies addressing dissatisfied citizens and street action consolidating its rooting in society. The panel seeks to answer the following questions empirically: How can we make sense of far-right mobilisation and strategies at the extra-parliamentary level? What are the mechanisms that support the consolidation of the nativist movements into civil society? And how can far-right collective actors integrate political action in the protest and electoral arenas?

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