Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)

The Extreme Right and the City: In-habiting Ultra-Nationalism in Athens and Its Periphery

Programme Group Political Sociology

This project seeks to analyse how Golden Dawn establishes political strongholds through local community organising and thereby radicalises urban neighbourhoods.

In a context of economic stagnation and political uncertainty, euroscepticism and nationalist sentiment have been growing, as has the appeal of Far Right parties and movements across Europe. From one country to the next, the financial and debt crises have played out in very different ways, whilst their impact has been particularly severe at the continent’s margins. In the case of Greece, where the last eight years have been marked by a crumbling economy, state and social fabric, the rise of the Far Right has been dramatic, as well as singular. Since 2012, the extreme right party Golden Dawn has been achieving unprecedented electoral success even as its leadership is on trial for criminal activities since late 2013. The party scores high in inner city and urban peripheries, particularly in former communist party strongholds in the western periphery of Athens where it is also more visibly active, through the provision of services and protection, but also through violent acts such as beatings and killings. This project seeks to analyse how Golden Dawn establishes political strongholds through local community organising and thereby radicalises urban neighbourhoods. The project asks how does extreme nationalism become engrained into everyday life and struggles, how it affects practices, daily geographies and more moderate forms of nationalism and in turn how is it “made banal”? By conducting a deep ethnography of Perama in the western periphery of Athens, this MSCA will, on the one hand, identify the strategies and practices that constitute far-right strongholds in Athens today. On the other hand, it will seek to explain how young adults become socialised into extreme nationalism and how xenophobia and violence can become trivialised. It will contribute to the study of social exclusion in Europe by analysing the extreme right’s political consolidation through local level activities and the growing appeal of the far right in a context of profound state crisis.

Period: August 1, 2017 - September 1, 2019
Funding: EU SYRMAGINE

Published by  AISSR

23 October 2018