C-REX studies right-wing extremism as both an ideology and as ideologically justified violence. This is important in order to achieve a better understanding of the causes and consequences of right-wing extremism, as well as how liberal democracies successfully should defend themselves against violent right-wing activism.
Both actor and systemic perspectives
In addition to the important distinction between ideology and ideologically justified violence, the center produces analyses that are both actor-oriented and systemic-oriented. The actor-oriented analyses of extreme right ideology examine activism online and offline, as well as the role of conspiracy theories, religion, gender, and new forms of exclusion. The actor-oriented analyses of right-wing violence explore processes of radicalization, engagement and disengagement, as well as hate crime and hate speech. The systemic-oriented analyses of extreme right ideology delve into how right-wing extremists interact with other extremists, intellectuals, the media and mainstream actors, nationally as well as internationally. The systemic-oriented analyses of right-wing violence focus on how targeted interventions at the systemic level can impede recruitment and facilitate disengagement. This includes analyses of initiation and coordination of responses by the state, civil society and supranational agencies.
Right-wing extremism as a developing process
These four themes are further divided into sub-topics and more specific research projects, which are studied both in isolation and integration with other themes. Moreover, in contrast to most small-scale research projects, the Center provides a unique possibility to study right-wing extremism over time as a developing process, enabling us to focus on continuity and change in terms of key ideological features, organizational patterns, subcultural trends, and levels of violence.
C-REX is a genuinely cross-disciplinary center, uniting perspectives from political science, sociology, history, anthropology, ethnography, criminology, psychology, and media studies, which will ensure theoretical and methodological pluralism. This approach allows us to study the formation of extreme right attitudes and behavior as well as the ideological and organizational development of far right politics at the transnational, national and local level. Adequate research on right-wing and other types of extremism also requires a comparative perspective. Indeed, extant comparative research has suggested that, despite significant differences, processes of radicalization, including engagement and disengagement, are surprisingly similar across different forms of extremist movement and groups, and the same appears to apply for preventive measures and policies.