Seminário | UNPOP

The dark side of the web: extreme right organizations and the internet in Europe and the USA

Manuela Caiani (Scuola Normale Superiore, Florence)

3 de março de 2023, 19h00

Galeria Santa Clara (Coimbra)

Moderadora: Sofia José Santos (FEUC/CES)


We commonly look at the Internet as a crucial modern tool for the development of a ‘global village’, diffusion of information, communication and equality among citizens, global thinking and universalism . It has further raised hopes about its effects on democracy in societies, and in particular on the role of civil society and its organizations. However, it is also evident that the Internet has a dark side, which is not widely explored. How and how much do right-wing extremist organizations throughout the world use the Internet as a tool for communication and recruitment? What is the potential role of the Internet for the identity-building process of right-wing groups, and how does the use of the Internet influence their mobilization and action strategies? How do right-wing radical groups utilize the Internet to set their agenda, build contacts with other extremist groups, spread their ideology and encourage mobilization? In this talk, we try to answer these questions, locating the complex relationship between extreme right groups and the Internet in a broader scenario of new challenges and opportunities provided by new technologies to civil society organizations (Mosca 2007).

Nota biográfica

Manuela Caiani is Associate Professor in Political Science at the Scuola Normale Superiore, affiliated scholar at the Cosmos Center for Social Movement Studies (SNS) and associated faculty at the Institute for Advanced Studies (IHS) in Vienna. She received her national Italian Abilitazione for full professorship in Political Science; and in Political Sociology, in 2017. Her research focuses on Social Movements and Europeanization; Far Right Politics; Extremism online; Right Wing and Left Wing Populism; Movement-parties; Qualitative methods of social research. Since 2019 she is Convenor of the Standing Group ‘Political Participation and Social Movements’ of the Italian Association for Political Science (SISP) and since 2021 Co-director of the International Observatory on Social Cohesion and Inclusion-OCIS, She has directed and collaborated in various international projects (Horizon 2021; Volskwagen Stiftung; Europe for Citizens Program; FP4, FP5, FP7; PRIN; Marie Curie; Research Grant Jubilaumsfonds, ONB; Doctoral TRA Fellowship, START Center, 2009, University of Maryland). She published in, among others, the following journals: Social Movement Studies, EJPR, Mobilization, Acta Politica, West European Politics, Government and Opposition; European Union Politics, South European Society and Politics, RISP and for the following publishers: Oxford University press, Ashgate, Palgrave, Routledge.


This seminar is part of a series within the UNPOP project - UNpacking POPulism: Comparing the formation of emotion narratives and their effects on political behaviour, which aims to explore how narratives of emotion allow a deeper analysis of the way populist phenomena constitute and influence political behaviour.

Thus, the series of events developed throughout the project will address several issues involving the recent growth of populism, focusing on the role of emotions - both those considered negative such as anger and fear, and those considered positive such as hope and love - in political behaviour.

UNPOP is coordinated by Cristiano Gianolla and Lisete Mónico and is based at the Centre for Social Studies and by CINEICC - Center for Research in Neuropsychology and Cognitive and Behavioral Intervention of the University of Coimbra, and is funded by the Foundation for Science and Technology (PTDC/CPO-CPO/3850/2020)

Ciclo de Eventos UNPOP

O populismo e as emoções