In Poland, an increasing intensity of extremist right-wing activities can be observed in the last two decades. These activities may be connected to institutionalized politics – the electoral success of right-wing political parties in parliamentary elections and their successful recruitment of new party members. This radical activism notwithstanding, in comparison with the extreme right activity in the Western Europe, in the 1970s (“the first wave”) and 1990s (“the second wave”), is of more limited size and action capacity in most European countries. While the extreme right terrorism in Germany and Italy in the 1970s had produced thousands of casualties, the street extreme right actions in Poland in the 1990s had produced hundreds of victims. The “third wave” (from the year 2000 till today) of the extreme right mobilization in many European countries has still serious, but more limited consequences in terms of “body count”. This characteristic of the “third wave” might explain why so little social science attention has been devoted to the analysis of collective violence in the presence of the extreme right parties. My project investigates the potential impact of the extreme-right organizational structures on its violent actions. I have observed that in a favorable socio-political environment the extreme right movement is able to not only institutionalize its structures (create a political party on the parliamentary level), but also institutionalize its repertoire of contention (favor conventional forms of action and reduce the proportion of heavy violence against persons). I want to find how social movement in general and the Polish extreme right movement in particular, when having a chance to build a strong political party in the parliament, coordinates its actions in the field, defined by the network configuration, trying to distance itself not only from heavy violence as a form of repertoire, but also from specific targets and actors that could be regarded as most controversial.
By tracing the trajectory of extreme-right protest events (basing on information gleaned from national newspapers) I analyze how has the range of repertoires (violent vs. non-violent) of protest change during the last 14 years of the extreme-right movement activity in Poland. To analyze the relations between actors and repertoires I use statistical models of logistic regression. Second, trying to overcome problems with the aggregative approaches (reflection of findings in means and percentages), mainly used in the analysis of social movements, I employ social network analysis (SNA) to analyze structural relationships between targets, types of actors and repertoires of action of the extreme right movement in Poland. My project seeks to develop a more inclusive analytical framework for the investigations of collective mobilizations by exploring the concept of strategic action field (SAFs, proposed by McAdam and Fligstein). While much work in the social movements centers on the casual relation where an independent variable is responsible for violence, not recognizing who or what is attacked, I would like to make the conflation of targets problematic.
My goal is to identify the level of equivalence of the overall structures of the Polish extreme right movement strategic action field over time in relation to the level of violence and see what is changing in the period of time when the extreme right have a chance to build a strong political party in the parliament. I focus on a comparative network models of actors/repertoires participating in the events with the same targets, dividing time into periods in which political party has its representatives in the parliament and when they are absent. I am interested in setting a level of the similarity of all pairs of actors/repertoires (how many times were they co-present at the events with the same targets?) in particular periods of time (which periods of the movement activity are most similar to each other in terms of the configuration of actors/repertoires in relation to the targets and how does this relate to violence?).
Technically speaking, this study defines a tie as an event in which a given combination of nodes – target, actor, and repertoire – occurred. This way I get three 1-mode, symmetric, weighted (dividing given number of ties by the maximum possible ties in the matrix), valued networks, each for every time period: 1) 1990 -2000, when the extreme right party was not in the parliament; 2) 2001-2007, when the party won the elections; 3) 2008 – 2013, when the extreme right party lost elections. Then I used blockmodel analysis to simplify the original (40 X 40) matrixes, but rather than picking a partition (the number of blocks) in an arbitrary manner, I compared the goodness-of-fit statistics of different partitions by using R2. At the third stage of the blockmodel analysis I implemented the procedure to decide whether I should assign zero or one to each cell of the partitioned matrix comparing different densities of reduced block matrixes. I searched for a best solution by comparing the different levels of cut-off. So, I fitted several image matrixes to the original matrixes for each period of time and computed the goodness-of-fit statistics. I obtained reduced matrixes for each period of time which served me to describe mechanisms in the strategic action field. I observed, for example, that in the second period (2001-2007), when the extreme right party won the elections, violence has been excluded from the field together with the ‘skinheads’ as the actors and ‘ethnic minorities’ targets.