The ECPR Standing Group on Extremism & Democracy was founded in 1999 by Roger Eatwell (University of Bath) and Cas Mudde (University of Georgia). The current convenors are Caterina Froio (Sciences Po), Andrea L. P. Pirro (Scuola Normale Superiore), and Stijn van Kessel (Queen Mary University of London). The Standing Group provides a platform and infrastructure to the broad range of scholars working on various aspects of ‘extremism and democracy’ around the world. We welcome scholars from fields such as sociology, (social) psychology or (contemporary) history. However, as a Standing Group of the European Consortium of Political Science (ECPR), our main focus is on the political aspects of extremism. Moreover, and in keeping with the ECPR tradition, we particularly welcome scholars who work in a comparative spirit.
The Standing Group is academically neutral and is not meant to become a battle ground for the unfortunate ideological clashes that have hampered much research on political extremism. Rather, it provides a meeting ground for serious scholars from all theoretical persuasions. Although we use the term ‘extremism’, we do not want to exclude scholars working with other terms to describe similar phenomena.
While most contemporary academic studies of extremism still study the phenomenon in isolation of its environment, the Standing Group’s name indicates its interest in the political role of extremism, as well as the specifics of the phenomenon itself. We are therefore particularly interested in the (inter-)relation between extremism and democracy.
The remit of the Standing Group is broad:
- We welcome scholars whose work is empirical and those who adopt political theoretical/philosophical approaches
- We bring together colleagues who work on a vast range of topics and themes (including, protest, political violence, terrorism, religious fundamentalism, identity, nationalism, racism, immigration, Fascism and Nazism, political parties of right and left, elections and voting, etc.)
- We aim to integrate scholars from all corners of the globe
Since 2000, the Standing Group has published a periodic electronic newsletter, e-Extreme, which contains news from the profession, conference and workshop reviews, an extensive book review section, and which alerts scholars to recent publications.
The Standing Group aims to be represented at ECPR events (Joint Sessions, General Conferences, and Graduate Conferences) and organise panels there whenever possible.
Since 2018, the Standing Group has sponsored the biannual Summer School on Concepts and Methods for Research on Far-Right Politics.
Caterina Froio, Andrea L. P. Pirro, and Stijn van Kessel edit the Routledge Book Series in Extremism and Democracy, in which members and non-members can publish research monographs and edited volumes that deal with questions of extremism and democracy.