Parsons_american_0008E_11993.pdf (2.66 MB)
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN RIGHT-WING EXTREMISM AND SUPPORT FOR POLITICAL VIOLENCE
thesisposted on 2023-09-07, 23:14 authored by Katherine Parsons
This study explores the relationship between right-wing extremism, and of particular note, White Nationalist/REMVE extremists, and support for political violence. While those who subscribe to these beliefs represent a minority of people in the United States. Fewer still actually engage in violence, despite subscribing to a shared and often violent worldview and belief system. However, there is often an assumption among both the public and scholars that extremism is a ‘conveyer belt’ that ultimately ends as engagement in violence. This may be, at least in part, due to the fact that studying support for and engagement in political violence is especially challenging due to the low base rate of violent events. In this study, I first test the relationship between ideological placement and support for political violence using American National Election Survey (ANES) and World Values Survey (WVS) data, which finds that extreme ideological placement does not predict support for political violence. I then utilized a novel dataset of 107 White Nationalist/REMVE Group Manifestos, which I utilized in two separate studies, to provide insight into the nature or organized extremism and support for violence in their public-facing content. In the dataset, I have also compiled group-related violence, and first, test the relationship between group types and intent and its connection with real-world violence, in addition to applying the Grievance Dictionary across the manifestos to search for trends across texts, as well as connections between language groups and real-world violence. Finally, I conduct a reflexive thematic analysis of the 107 manifesto texts, with both a priori themes and emerging themes, providing both an inductive and deductive approach to the content. This deep dive into the texts helps provide context to the findings in the other stories, as well as providing a descriptive analysis of extremism at the group level, which is severely lacking in the literature today.
Committee chairThomas Zeitzoff
Committee member(s)Joe Young; Cynthia Miller-Idriss
Degree disciplineJustice, Law & Criminology
Degree grantorAmerican University. School of Public Affairs