THE PROBLEM OF DEFINING CONTEMPORARY RIGHTWING EXTREMISM IN POLITICAL THEORY Cover Image

ПРОБЛЕМ ДЕФИНИСАЊА САВРЕМЕНОГ ДЕСНИЧАРСКОГ ЕКСТРЕМИЗМА У ПОЛИТИЧКОЈ ТЕОРИЈИ
THE PROBLEM OF DEFINING CONTEMPORARY RIGHTWING EXTREMISM IN POLITICAL THEORY

Author(s): Marija Đorić
Subject(s): Comparative politics, Nationalism Studies, Sociology of Politics
Published by: Правни факултет Универзитета у Нишу
Keywords: extremism; right-wing extremism; political theory; definition of extremism; violence

Summary/Abstract: The subject matter of research in this paper is theoretical controversy related to the definition of right-wing extremism. Given the fact that extremism is a variable, amorphous and insufficiently researched phenomenon, largely conditioned by time, space, political and cultural differences, there is a great confusion in the field of political science when defining right-wing extremism. The problem of researching right-wing extremism is additionally complicated by various terms that are being used in the contemporary literature as its synonyms, such as right-wing radicalism, neo-Fascism, ultra-radicalism, etc. In order to provide the most valid theoretical determination of right-wing extremism, the author provides a detailed analysis of all the components constituting this phenomenon and examines their causality. In the political praxis, the term extremism is extensively abused, which additionally complicates its determination. Videlicet, politicians often use term “extremist” in order to discredit their political opponents. While during the French revolution aristocracy saw the bourgeoisie as extremists, the members of the working class later stated that the bourgeoisie were extremists. The problem lies in the fact that, in politics, extremists are not only the ones who use violence as modus operandi; indeed, it is also used by political opponents who do not belong to the extreme political option. Another aggravating factor in defining right-wing extremism is that many administrative and academic definitions do not make a clear distinction between extremism and related phenomena, such as terrorism, radicalism and populism. Extremism is most often equaled with terrorism, which gives rise to another problem in defining this phenomenon. The relation between extremism and terrorism is the relation of general and specific. Namely, every act of terrorism is concurrently considered to be an act of extremism, but not vice versa, given the fact that every act of extremism does not lead towards a higher level of political violence (i.e. towards terrorism). Even in the terms of legal sanctioning, it is much easier to incriminate terrorism in comparison to extremism. The Serbian criminal legislation envisages relevant punishment for committing an act of terrorism, without even mentioning extremism, which implies that there is no penalty prescribed for committing an act of extremism. Despite numerous academic and administrative definitions on the concept of extremism, there is still a lack of a balanced approach to defining right-wing extremism, which is also largely conditioned by political definitions. The most prominent problem in addressing the social phenomena such as right-wing extremism lies in the fact that these social phenomena are dinamic and, in order to be analysed in a scientifically objective manner, they must be examined in the specific temporal, spatial and socio-political context.

  • Issue Year: LV/2016
  • Issue No: 72
  • Page Range: 201-215
  • Page Count: 16
  • Language: Serbian