A Contradiction in Terms? The activity of Women and Migrants in Extreme Right-wing Populist Parties: a case study of Sweden Democrats.
During the last 20 years their has been an upsurge in research on xenophobic populist parties mirroring their political successes. However, these studies have rarely touched upon the role of women and immigrants within these parties. While women are often invisible in research, located in a marginal role as girl-friends and sisters, migrants support to these parties is often defined as a contradiction in terms and remains un-theorised. The aim of the study is to analyse the double edged relationship between on the one side women and migrants approaching the Swedish xenophic populist party -Sweden Democrats, and on the other side the discourse of the party in respect to women and migrants in their conditions of representatives. It will identify women's and migrant's agency and explore the ways through which these shape, constrain and influence their position in the organisation. Theoretically the project is framed within gender and IMER studies, focusing on the notions of the family and nationhood, and the notions of ethnic belonging and nationhood. Methodologically the study is based on in depth interviews and life-stories with women and migrants representing SD in municipalities.
Keywords:Gender, Nation and Nationalism , Populism, Racism, Citizenship
During the last 20 years their has been a upsurge in research on xenophobic populist parties mirroring the political successes of these parties in western Europe and later also in Eastern Europe. In the Swedish context this research, with a few exceptions, are of even newer dates. However, these studies have so far rarely touched upon the themes of this research proposal, the role of women and immigrants within these parties. While women are often invisible in the studies, located in a marginal role as girl-friends and sisters, migrants support to these parties is often defined as a contradiction in terms and remains un-theorised. By highlighting two groups, women and migrants, which have been marginalised in research on xenophobic populist parties, new knowledge of political participation and political border making will be produced. The aim of the study is to analyse the double edged relationship between on the one side women and migrants approaching the Swedish xenophic populist party - Sweden Democrats, and on the other side the discourse (and the practices) of the party in respect to women and migrants in their conditions of representatives, through focusing on the experience of women and migrant active in these organisations. The project will identify women's and migrant's agency and explore the ways through which issues of gender, ethnicity and nationhood shape, constrain and influence their position in the organisation. Theoretically the project has two points of departure. Firstly, gender studies, with special focus on the relationship between notions of the family and nationhood. Secondly, the field of international migration and ethnic relations, with special focus on the connections between notions of ethnic belonging and nationhood.
The study of ERP parties puts at the fore a number of important methodological concerns. Earlier studies have used a wide range of methodological approaches, especially focusing on survey data, document analysis (eg text, policy, discourse and media analysis) and interviews with leading representatives. However, ethnographic methods - participant observation and indepth interviews - have only marginally been used, reflecting more general research questions as well as the difficulties of the theme. Summarizing survey results demonstrating stark regional variations in xenophobic attitudes, political scientist Marie Demker argues that it is important to use interview based spatially contextualised qualitative methods to analyse history, lifestyles habits and traditions in a regional perspective (Demker 2006). The aim of the research project, grasping the reasoning of a generally invisible group of ERP party representatives (being women and/or with migrant background) as well as the micro social context of their political careers, stresses the need for ethnographic. The methodological approach is thus based on critical ethnography using in-depth interviews, life-story collections and social network maps. This will be complemented with analysis of party documents, media coverage and descriptive statistics. The first study is based on in-depth interviews and life stories with SD representatives and is followed up by a social network analysis of a selection of SD representatives. The first study will be a complete interview study of all elected female representatives in the 38 municipalities where female representatives (including substitutes) are present and the 6 municipalities where representatives with migrant background (defined as 'migrant sounding' names) are present (making a total of about 55 interviews). The interview studies of the municipal elected female and migrant representatives of Sweden Democrats will focus on the career into politics and 6 particular how the representatives manage the issue of gender and ethnicity - in the tension of personal identity and political programme. The second study will be an in-depth study of social networks. The network study will be based on a selection of the population. We aim, through using a case study approach, to map social networks in four selected municipalities of different characteristics in Skï¿½ne due to its institutionalisation, electoral strength and it overrepresentation of women and especially people of migrant background. The two major studies will complemented with background studies and analyses of documents, descriptive statistics and secondary literature. Text analysis and policy analysis of the SD texts and proposals as well as media coverage at the municipal level will constitute the background of the study.
Berggren, Erik, and Anders Neergaard. 2013. Högerpopulism - mellan populism och högerextremism? . In Migrationens och etnicitetens epok: Nyckelbegrepp inom internationell migration och etniska relationer, edited by M. Dahlstedt and A. Neergaard. Stockholm: Liber.
Dahlstedt, Magnus, and Anders Neergaard, eds. 2013. Migrationens och etnicitetens epok: Nyckelbegrepp inom internationell migration och etniska relationer. Stockholm: Liber.
Mulinari, Diana, and Anders Neergaard. 2010. Sverigedemokraterna och det teoretiska fältet. In Det vita fältet: Samtida forskning om högerextremism. Uppsala: Opuscula Historica Upsaliensia.
Mulinari, Diana, and Anders Neergaard. 2012. The Sweden Democrats, racisms and the construction of the Muslim threat. In Global Islamophobia: Muslims and Moral Panic in the West, edited by G. Morgan and S. Poynting. London: Ashgate.
Mulinari, Diana, and Anders Neergaard. 2012. Violence, Racism, and the Political Arena: A Scandinavian Dilemma. NORA - Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research 20 (1):12-18.
Mulinari, D., & Neergaard, A. (2014a). Svenskhet som kulturellt kapital. SD och kvinnorna. In M. Axelsson & K. Borg (Eds.), Sverigedemokraternas svarta bok. Verbal.
Mulinari, D., & Neergaard, A. (2014b). We are Sweden Democrats because we care for others: Exploring racisms in the Swedish extreme right. European Journal of Women’s Studies, 21(1), 43–56.
Berggren, E., & Neergaard, A. (2015). Populism – Protest, democratic challenge and right-wing extremism. In M. Dahlstedt & A. Neergaard (Eds.), International Migration and Ethnic Relations: Critical Perspectives (pp. 169–199). Routledge.
Dahlstedt, M., & Neergaard, A. (2015a). Conclusion: Whither Swedish Exceptionalism? Concluding reflections. In M. Dahlstedt & A. Neergaard (Eds.), International Migration and Ethnic Relations: Critical Perspectives. Routledge.
Dahlstedt, M., & Neergaard, A. (2015b). International Migration and Ethnic Relations: Critical Perspectives. Routledge.
Mulinari, D., & Neergaard, A. (2015). Racist dreams and municipal budgets: Women representing a culturally racist party in local politics. Social Identities, 21(5), 506–523. https://doi.org/10.1080/13504630.2015.1081561
Mulinari, D., & Neergaard, A. (2017a). Doing Racism, Performing Femininity: Women in the Sweden Democrats. In Michaela Köttig, Renate Bitzan, & Andrea Petö (Eds.), Gender and Far Right Politics in Europe. Palgrave.
Mulinari, D., & Neergaard, A. (2017b). From racial to racist state? The Sweden Democrats reimagining the nation. In A. Ålund, C. U. Schierup, & A. Neergaard (Eds.), Reimagineering the Nation. Essays on Twenty First Century Sweden (pp. 257–284). Peter Lang.
Mulinari, D., & Neergaard, A. (2017c). Theorising racism: Exploring the Swedish racial regime. Nordic Journal of Migration Research, 7(2 (June)).
Mulinari, D., & Neergaard, A. (2018a). Sverigedemokraternas Sverige—Från rasifierande politik till en rasistisk stat? In A. Ålund, C.-U. Schierup, & A. Neergaard (Eds.), Nation i ombildning: Essäer om 2000-talets Sverige (pp. 225–259). Boréa AB.
Mulinari, D., & Neergaard, A. (2018b). A contradiction in terms? Migrant activists in the Sweden Democrats party. Identities, 26(2), 222–240. https://doi.org/10.1080/1070289X.2017.1418275
Other Academic Output
Mulinari, Diana & Neergaard, Anders (2010). Women and Migrants in Swedish Xenophobic Populist Parties. Paper presented at International Sociological Association, RC05 Racism, Nationalism and Ethnic Relations, Islamophobia Since 9/11, In Gothenburg 11-17, July 2010.
2007 - 2019
REMESO Project LeaderAnders Neergaard, Professor
Participants not from REMESO
- Professor Diana Mulinari, Dept of Gender Studies, Lund University (project leader)
Contact for project
Last updated: 2020-05-27