On (missing) critical distance and (involuntary) alliances

A warning about the reproduction of far-right ideologies in academic papers


  • Piotr Kocyba Technische Universität Chemnitz
  • Sebastian Sommer Freie Universität Berlin


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far-right ideology, research methodology, research ethics, Identitarian Movement


In recent years, far-right actors and movements have become a growing field of scientific research. The specific challenges of this political spectrum have led to a number of interdisciplinary debates on methodology and ethics. In this context, questions concerning a critical distance in research have played a crucial role since there is a constant risk of an involuntary reproduction and thus amplification of far-right ideology. The article ‘The transnationalization of ethno-nationalism: The case of the Identitarian Movement’ by Petra Mlejnková (published in Intersections) illustrates these pitfalls. It shows the consequences of a lack of reflexivity when approaching far-right activism. As a result, the author’s findings appear rather one-sided when contrasted with critical debates on far-right ideology and current methodological discussions. Moreover, the presentation of the results creates the impression of, at least implicit, empathy towards the ‘Identitarian Movement.’ This, in turn, shows the risk of scientific research turning unintentionally into a (discursive) ally of the far-right and promoting ideologies of inequality.






Discussion Note