"I took action for my race": Right-Wing Extremism as a Transnational Social Movement

  • Author / Creator
    Mirzahi, Sadaf
  • Right-wing extremism is on the rise globally, but despite the growing threat from right-wing terrorists, there is inadequate contemporary scholarship to analyze their ideology, actions, and motivations. This study uses social movement theory to investigate the phenomenon of right-wing extremism. The study interrogates the personal motivations and/or larger political, ideological, and religious goals of right-wing terrorists in order to improve understanding of the right-wing extremist movement and its framing strategies.
    This study conducts framing analysis of seven right-wing terrorists’ writings and explores their ideation, repertoires of action, and capacity for transnational networking. Applying social movement theory, the study finds that the right-wing extremist movement’s diagnostic, prognostic, and motivational frames work together to mobilize adherents of the movement. The diagnostic framings of the movement focus on issues of race, religion, gender norms, and government corruption. The prognostic framings propose political violence and ‘separate development’. The motivational framings encourage movement adherents to take action by invoking concepts of honour, family and kinship, racial solidarity, and the collective good.
    Framing analysis of the terrorists’ writings demonstrate that these seemingly disparate individuals and their acts of violence are constitutive of an identifiable transnational social movement: right-wing extremism. Right-wing extremists use the Internet to gain supporters by framing their grievances, demands, goals, and tactics in a way that resonates with domestic and international potential supporters and proves valuable to new recruits. In turn, gaining international support demonstrates to existing members that they are not alone and encourages domestic mobilization. Moreover, the rhetoric, actions, and policies of populist and RWE leaders like Donald Trump are crucial when it comes to the success and growth of the RWE movement. Although significant attention is devoted to radical Islamist terrorist movements post-9/11, this paper concludes by arguing for a greater focus on the right-wing extremist movement in the age of Trumpism.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2020
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
  • License
    Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.