Framing in times of crisis: Responses to COVID-19 amongst Far Right movements and organisations

Richard McNeil-Willson 25 Jun 2020
 
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This paper examines various framing processes have been developed by Far Right groups specifically in response to the global health crisis brought about by the spread of COVID-19. Through an examination of statements by six Identitarian and National Socialist movement organisations issued over a two month period from late February to late April 2020 on the open source platform Telegram, six ‘crisis frames’ were identified which extended central Far Right ideological ideas and cast COVID-19 as directly linked to concepts of migration, globalisation, governance, liberty, resilience and conspiracy. As well as identifying the crisis frames used by Far Right, this paper found that these Far Right groups emphasised engagement in activity designed to develop community resilience and—in contrast to initial commentary by analysts—conspiracy theories and practices of misinformation were largely not used. These findings suggest that the early stages of the COVID crisis has seen a shift by certain Far Right groups not towards practices of encouraging violent contention but rather using propaganda to emphasise their contribution in supporting the family unit, communities and the nation, against the failures of authorities in dealing with the virus. This paper represents an early foray into understanding the development of contemporary ‘crisis frames’ within the Far Right, highlighting the interactive processes that take place between Far Right groups, global events and authorities.


 

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