Grant TypePost PhD Research Grant
Institutional AffiliationTemple U.
Grant numberGr. 10086
Approve DateApril 8, 2021
Project TitleStankiewicz, Damien (Temple U.) "Virtual Patriots: Towards Online-Offline Ethnography of the French Far-Right"
In order to evaluate the evolving relationship between offline, face-to-face political participation and online, digital political participation, this ethnographic study focuses on a town in Southern France (Occitanie) that has, after decades of leftist governments, elected a far-right mayor and regional representatives. In France in particular, journalists and scholars have attributed the recent growth in popularity of the far-right to the FN/RN’s innovation of digital platforms and to a coalescing of political support through social media and user-generated forums. This study evaluates the role and impact of digital media on local politics through a novel, hybrid online-offline fieldwork research methodology: Consisting of ten months of ‘traditional’ fieldwork, the study examines everyday life and political activity in the town, aiming in particular to understand the media practices of residents who self-identify as supporters of the far-right, and how they engage with and participate in local and national politics. Simultaneously, online ethnography will be conducted on Twitter and in a far-right chat room with the goal of identifying how online political discourse may differ from face-to-face contexts (especially with regard to anonymity), while seeking to engage with online users who reside in Occitanie region about their face-to-face political participation and activities.