Call for papers: The mobilisation of gender by radical right and far right populist organisations

AFSP (Association Française de Science Politique) conference
Sciences Po Bordeaux, 2-4 July 2019

Co-convenors of the panel:
Christèle LAGIER, Maîtresse de conférence de science politique (Université d’Avignon, France) :
Francesca SCRINZI, Senior Lecturer, Sociology, University of Glasgow, UK:

Keywords: Far right ; radical right ; Gender ; Leadership; Activism ; Social movements ; Populism

The papers will use different methodological approaches and will focus on one of the two broad areas of research below.
1. First, we intend to assess the role of gender in the trajectories and practices of the members of these organizations. On the one hand, gender shapes the motives for affiliation, the activists ‘careers’ and the division of work within these organizations. On the other, political engagement and activism can redefine the public/private divide and affect gender relations in other spheres such as the family and work (Fillieule and Roux 2009). Populist radical right and far right organizations construct, reproduce and transform gender at the interplay with other unequal social relations, shaping differential symbolic and material opportunities for men and women of different classes, sexualities and ages, to join and use their ideologies to make sense of their lives (Bacchetta and Power 2002, Blee 2002). How does gender shape the experiences and motives of activists, and how is it transformed or reproduced within these organizations? How does the instrumental mobilization of gender issues by these organizations interplay with the recruitment of new generations of members? To what extent do female leaders in these organizations challenge charismatic masculine models of leadership which have traditionally been associated with these organizations (Meret et alii, 2016)?

2. Secondly, the papers will focus on the strategic uses of gender in the field of political communication. Gender is a distinctive feature in the political field, increasing or decreasing the value of candidacies (Achin and Béréni, 2009). It is at the core of struggles for political positions for attracting voters/activists. By a strange turnaround – and more probably misappropriation – of stigma (Goffman, 1975), gender become a ‘contingent attribute’ (Dulong and Lévêque, 2002) in media-friendly ultra-male political landscape (Boudillon, 2005). To what extent can the claim of representing women support a process of “modernization” of the public image of these organizations, which historically champion traditional models of gender and the family, or even express antifeminist positions? To what extent does this mobilization of the themes of gender equality and women’s rights contribute to obscure political issues or to racialise social relations ? Is this new gendered discourse effective in securing new constituencies and memberships for these organizations (Givens 2004; Sineau, 2014; Amengay Abdelkarim et al., 2017)? Or does it simply expand their traditional support in conservative audiences (Blee, MacGee Deutsch, 2012)? What is the role of gender issues in their propaganda and political programs, and how are these related to other issues and claims in their discourses? Have their discourses and programmes on gender evolved over time?

All methodological approaches are welcome. The analysis of a digital corpus will be valued (analysis of discourses, messages or public relations, images, tweets, press releases, blogs, websites…). Web 2.0 is now a primary stage where these strategic identities are spread (Bouron, 2017; Dezé 2015; 2011). Qualitative and ethnographic approaches exploring gender social relationships hinge on others social relationships (class, age, ethnicity, sexuality) (Fillieule and Roux 2009) will be particularly welcome.

The deadline for submitting the abstracts is 12th December 2018.
These should be sent to both co-convenors: