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Speakers:

  • Sophie Bjork-James (Department of Anthropology Vanderbilt University, US) ‘The recruitment of Sweden and the Swedish Corona strategy in US anti-lock down rallies and rhetoric on the far-right’
  • Anders Larsson (Department of Communication, Kristiania University College, Oslo) ‘Swedish right-wingers online during the initial phases of the corona virus’
  • Michael Krona (K3; MaU & fellow @International Centre for the Study of Radicalization): ‘The Islamic State’s responses to the pandemic in Sweden and beyond’
  • Tina Askanius (K3, MaU & Institute for Futures Studies): ‘‘Tegnell till Finspång’: the Neo-Nazi movement’s responses to Covid19 in Sweden‘

The global pandemic currently ravaging the world presents an opportunity for extremist groups across the ideological spectrum to exploit widespread confusion and fear. We are seeing reports from across the world that violent jihadis and far-right groups are jumping to the chance of spreading hate, disinformation and conspiracy theories. The long-term political implications of the ongoing crisis and how its trajectory will play into the hands of extremists are still unknown to us. History tells us that crises and disasters have continually set the stage for radical change - for better or worse. It remains to be seen whether the ongoing crisis will send democratic societies down darker paths of increasing extremism, polarization and societal unrest.

In this impromptu seminar, Malmö researchers and international scholars share some reflections on how the extremist groups and political actors they are monitoring as part of their research are responding to the crisis and what this might mean to the future of democracy. None of the speakers will be presenting finished research results. Instead their brief reflections are meant to work as starting points for an informal and open-ended discussion among all of us on anti-democratic developments and questions around how the pandemic is currently reshaping political landscapes.

The seminar is organized by the research platform Rethinking Democracy at the Faculty of Culture and Society Malmö University in collaboration with Institute for Futures Studies in Stockholm. Sign up for the seminar at redem@mau.se