Kondor, Katherine (2019) On The Edges Of Europe: A Comparative Study Of Radical Right Social Movement Organisations In Hungary And Great Britain. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

This project examines questions of collective action, namely why people seek to participate in social movement organisations and why they maintain membership in those organisations. This study looks specifically at radical right organisations in Hungary and Great Britain, and asks why individuals adopt nationalist views. Two groups were compared: The Hungarian Defence Movement (MÖM) and the English Defence League (EDL).

Three methodologies were used for comparison. Secondary survey analysis was conducted in order to provide insight into the Hungarian and British social context and some factors which move people to adopt right-wing and far-right views. Online analysis was conducted on organisations’ websites and social media accounts to examine methods utilised by the organisation to recruit members and to explore their movement identity formation. Finally, semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with movement members, specifically examining how they developed radical right views, why they joined the organisation, and why they maintain membership.

Findings of the statistical analysis showed that in both Hungary and the UK, those with politically right-leaning attitudes and those with far-right attitudes generally had a high satisfaction with their lives. It was also shown that in both the UK and Hungary those with far-right views believe immigrants have a negative effect on their country’s cultural life, although these feelings were slightly stronger in the UK sample. In Hungary, results suggest that those on the far-right believe immigrants negatively impact the economy, whereas in the UK this was not found to be a significant factor. Findings of the online analysis revealed the importance of social media to both MÖM and EDL, in terms of recruitment, promoting emotion, and strengthening solidarity among supporters. Qualitative interviews with MÖM members and textual interviews with EDL supporters gave insight into pathways into the movement and the importance of solidarity and emotion.

This study demonstrates the advantage of mix-methods and cross-national comparative studies. This project challenges the idea that radical right supporters are unsatisfied with their lives. The results demonstrate that relative deprivation theory is not enough to explain support; it is rather a person’s fear of losing what they already have that can drive them to seek collective action. This study has challenged the idea of strain theory; in a nationalist context, strain theory could be applied to concern over other fellow nationals and not the individual self. This project clearly shows the central importance of the online sphere, especially social media, in the development of movement identity, in the fostering of views and attitudes, and in soliciting support that is not geographically-limited. Finally, this is the first study of its kind and the first study to have access to the Hungarian Defence Movement.

FINAL THESIS - KONDOR.pdf - Accepted Version
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