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Interactive extremism. A comparative psychosocial study of the emotional dynamics of far 'right' extremisms in Germany and Great Britain


This project will focus on an international comparison of the interaction of extremist groups with the general public, an area where very little research has been done despite the ambitious European targets related to the intervention of and prevention of extremism. Due to the rise of Islamist and right-wing extremism in European countries, interventions are needed urgently. The primary objective is to analyse the psychosocial underpinnings of extremism in relation to the societies of Great Britain and Germany as a precondition to develop better means to deal with threats to democracy in the EU.

We propose the psychosocial concept of 'interactive extremism' to grasp the relationship between the extremist groups and the population in Great Britain and in Germany, especially in the emotional public sphere. This notion of interactive extremism will firstly be applied to explore the interactions between the right-wing- extremist groups and the violent jihadist movement. Secondly, it will be applied to the interactions between the right-wing-extremist groups and the so-called centre of society. In a first phase, media analysis will be applied in the field of offline and online communications of right-wing-extremist and Islamist groups. In a second phase, we will conduct 16 focus groups in Germany and in GB. To analyse the data, we will follow a psychosocial and interdisciplinary approach in order to grasp the interaction of societal and psychological processes, including emotional and unconscious processes.

This will result in mapping the psychosocial conditions under which escalation and de-escalation of extremisms are most likely to occur in order to develop counterstrategies to address extremism. We will follow a psychosocial approach in order to grasp the interaction of societal and psychological processes, including emotional and unconscious processes. Our approach is interdisciplinary, as it combines theories and methods of the disciplines of psychology, especially psychoanalysis, sociology, media studies and political science.
With our new approach additional insights as follows will be gained:

•Understanding of the extremist interactions between extremist groups and between extremist groups and the general public
•Understanding of the internationalization of extremism

Call for proposal

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Fern Barrow Bournemouth University
BH12 5BB Poole
United Kingdom

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Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Barry Richards (Prof.)
EU contribution
€ 110 803,20