Next steps for Scholarship on Gender and the Far-Right

In the latest C-REX Working Paper, Next steps for Scholarship on Gender and the Far-Right, Professor Kathleen Blee, University of Pittsburgh, discusses the state of scholarship on gender and the far right.

Following on the talks Blee held in 2018 at the Center for Research on Extremism and the Extremism and Democracy Summer School, she identifies a number of issues that needs to be addressed and suggests some next steps and promising directions.

She argues that, compared to a few decades ago, scholars no longer consider gender to be an incidental feature of nativist politics. After several decades of research, scholars now agree that gender matters and how it matters. They also agree that organizational, ideological and contextual factors affect how it matters in the far right. Yet, new research is critically needed to address at least three puzzles.

  • First, scholars need to focus on what explains the global transmission of gendered far-right practices and discourses.
  • Second, they should question whether the gendered nature of the far right is a product of its rightist politics or other factors, such as its structure, agenda, or tactics.
  • Third, they must investigate to what extent gender operates as a significant cleavage in far-right politics.

If scholars are now ready to make bigger claims about gender and the far right, they need to confront the conceptual and methodological dilemmas that plague many existing studies. Making such claims requires discarding lines of inquiry that are becoming exhausted and focus on more promising directions. By stressing that identifying new bold claims about gender and rightist politics is politically and ethically urgent, the paper concludes with a plea for a collaboration among university scholars, activists and citizens to take the next steps in claims-making about gender and the far right.

You can find the full working paper here (pdf).


Kathleen Blee is professor in Sociology at University of Pittsburgh. She has affiliated appointments in History, Psychology, and Women’s Studies, and is also associated with Cultural Studies and the Center for Race and Social Problems. Her areas of interest are social movements, including racist/anti-Semitic, and right-wing movements, racial violence, and microsociology.

Published Dec. 5, 2018 11:20 AM - Last modified Dec. 5, 2018 11:20 AM