Propaganda and conspiracy theories in extreme right ideologies
- Peters, Rikke (Projektleder)
- Richards, Julian (Projektdeltager)
BeskrivelseThe growth of extremism and hate against certain groups online is one of the main political and social challenges facing European societies today. A detailed examination is undertaken of the relationship between traditional theories of propaganda, and key themes and narratives in conspiracy theories relating to contemporary right-wing extremist (RWE) movements and ideologues. Following a review of literatures on propaganda, extremism and conspiracy theories, key themes in contemporary Western RWE narratives are described. These coalesce around: Islamophobia and “counter-jihad”; European identity and the Great Replacement/Eurabia theory; and politico-economic conspiracy theories based on the hegemony of the elites and the frustrated yet often undefined “will of the people”. Elements of these narratives of a terrifying enemy are held and circulated in Europe today among far right political parties and politicians, as well as terrorist networks and individuals.
Two detailed case studies are then offered to develop these themes in a contemporary Northern European context, and to build a possible model for analysing RWE narratives. These comprise a discourse analysis of Tommy Robinson in the UK, and his self-published book “Enemy of the State”; and of Rasmus Paludan in Denmark and his Party Programme, interviews and speeches on YouTube. The paper concludes with some reflections on the evolution of contemporary RWE narratives and the utility of traditional theories of propaganda and conspiracy theory to them; and some observations for policy-makers and practitioners working in the counter-extremism environment.