Review Essay: Extremist Right-Wing Orientation and Youth Violence in the Context of Psychologically based Biography Research

Silke Baer


Michaela KÖTTIG's book closes two gaps in research on right-wing political extremism. First, she deals with young women in the right-wing scene. This is a group that has been subject to little research, having generally been taken to be on the fringe of activity and with little political activity of its own. Second, KÖTTIG works exclusively with qualitative research methods, using narrative biographical interviews and reconstructive case studies which include three-generational family histories. KÖTTIG also draws on studies of clinical psychological trauma studies and attempts to reconstruct early childhood experiences. The comparison of case studies shows numerous correspondences and variations in the biographical experience of the interviewees as well as in the consequences for individual coping mechanisms. Recurrent issues include experiences of alienation from parents, the eminent importance of one grandparent, and the effects of unconscious trans-generational transmission of affect and thought patterns caused by parents' and grandparents' suppression of the family's history during the Third Reich. These and other factors can contribute to the build-up of extreme right-wing patterns of thought and behavior. KÖTTIG's insightful study shows the importance of this kind of qualitative biographical research in examining the complexity of the biographical conditions for right-wing extremism in girls and young women.
URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs080281


political right-wing extremism; youth cultures; gender; narrative biographical interviews; psychological trauma; trans-generational transmission; peer-group dynamic; violence; socialization; social work with adolescents


Copyright (c) 2008 Silke Baer

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