Left, Right, no Center: Radical Nationalism and Youth Activism in Contemporary Europe

Convenors: Dr Nicolette Makovicky, (REES, OSGA) and Dr Agnieszka Kościańska (Leverhulme Fellow at REES, OSGA)

Speaker: Dr Agnieszka Pasieka, (University of Vienna/ Yale University)

In recent years, scholars studying the rise of right-wing populist and far-right parties have been observing the difficulty in pining down their economic agenda. While some (radical) right-wing political actors continue to support neoliberal policies, others call for restoring the welfare state (oftentimes simultaneously embracing what has been defined as “welfare chauvinism). Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork with youth radical nationalist activists, my paper strives to make sense of their fascination with socialist ideas and their increasing reluctance to position themselves on the right side of the political spectrum. In so doing, it provides some reflections on why young people join radical nationalist movements and it situates their activism historically.

Agnieszka Pasieka is a socio-cultural anthropologist and is Elise Richter Research Fellow at the University of Vienna.
Currently, she is a Visiting Fellow at Macmillan Center at Yale University where she is working on a book monograph on transnational far-right youth activism. She is the author of Hierarchy and Pluralism: Living Religious Difference in Catholic Poland (Palgrave 2015) and numerous journal publications on nationalism, ethnicity, religion, multiculturalism, postsocialism, and, most recently, far-right politics and far-right movements. Agnieszka was a guest professor at the Central European University and Dartmouth College, and she is the recipient of several research grants which enabled her to carry out fieldwork in Poland, US, and Italy.

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