ECPS Book Talks – Liberal Roots of Far Right Activism: The Anti-Islamic Movement in the 21st Century (Jan.14, 2022)

AfD demo with slogan Stop Islamization and counter demonstration of the Left in Luetten Klein in Rostock, Germany on May 14, 2018. AfD, Alternative for Germany, is a right wing political party in Germany.

Author Dr. Lars Erik Berntzen will discuss his book Liberal Roots of Far Right ActivismThe Anti-Islamic Movement in the 21st Century with Dr. Aaron Winter. 

This book explores the anti-Islamic turn and expansion of the far right in Western Europe, North America and beyond from 2001 and onwards. Driven by terror attacks and other moral shocks, the anti-Islamic cause has undergone four waves of transnational expansion in the period since 2001. The leaders and intellectuals involved have varied backgrounds, many coming from the left, uniting historically opposed sets of values under their banner of a civilizational struggle against Islam. 

The findings presented in this book indicate that anti-Islamic initiatives in Western Europe and the United States form a transnational movement and subculture characterized by a fragile balance between liberal and authoritarian values. The author draws on a broad array of data sources and methods, including network analysis and sentiment analysis, to analyze the impact of the anti-Islamic expansion and turn at a macro level, and the theoretical implications for our understanding of the current far right flowing from this. Offering an overview of anti-Islamic activism, the book explores the background of their leaders and ideologues, provides an in-depth look at their ideology, online organizational networks, and the views expressed by their online members as well as which emotions and messages continue to drive their mobilization.

Date and Time: Thursday, January 14, 2022, 6 PM (CET) 

Please register here!.. 


Dr. Lars Erik Berntzen is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Comparative Politics at the University of Bergen and Affiliate Researcher at the Center for Research on Extremism (C-REX). He received his doctoral degree in Political and Social Sciences from the European University Institute in Florence, Italy in 2018. His work covers the far right, political violence, and mass polarization. 

In addition to “Liberal Roots of Far Right Activism: The Anti-Islamic Movement in the 21st Century”, Berntzen has written and co-authored several peer reviewed articles, book chapters and popular publications, such as “The Collective Nature of Lone Wolf Terrorism: Anders Behring Breivik and the Anti-Islamic Social Movement” (2014), “Anti-Islamic PEGIDA Beyond Germany: Explaining Differences in Mobilisation” (2016), “How elite politicization of terror impacts sympathies for partisans: Radical right versus social democrats” (2020) and most recently “Monster or Hero? Far-right Responses to Anders Behring Breivik and the July 22, 2011 Terrorist Attacks” (2021).

Dr. Aaron Winter is Associate Professor of Criminology at the University of East London. His research is on the far-right with a focus on racism, mainstreaming and violence. He is co-editor of Discourses and Practices of Terrorism: Interrogating Terror (Routledge 2010), Reflexivity in Criminological Research: Experiences with the Powerful and the Powerless (Palgrave 2014), Historical Perspectives on Organised Crime and Terrorism (Routledge 2018) and Researching the Far Right: Theory, Method and Practice (Routledge 2020), and co-author, with Aurelien Mondon, of Reactionary Democracy: How Racism and the Populist Far Right Became Mainstream (Verso 2020). 

He has published in Ethnic and Racial Studies, Identities, Sociological Research Online, Women and Performance and Journal of Political Ideologies, and been interviewed by BBC, NBC, LBC, The Times, The Telegraph, NewStatesman, Vice, Wired, Gara, Radio France, Voice of Islam, and Dundee Courier. He is also a co-editor of the journal Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power and the Manchester University Press (MUP) book series Racism, Resistance and Social Change. 

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