A comparative study of women’s and men’s participation in the Northern League (Italy) and the National Front (France)

This two-year research project aims to enhance our understanding of current developments in ‘anti-immigration’ politics in contemporary Europe.

Building on two funded pilot studies conducted in 2010, this ethnographic and comparative research explores the gender dimensions of anti-immigration social movements in contemporary Europe.

This project is led by Dr Francesca Scrinzi.

It is funded by an European Research Council Starting Grant, and is due to run from 2012 to 2014.

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About this project

Methodology

The research will be done through the analysis of activism linked to the Northern League party (NL) in Italy and the National Front party (NF) in France.

The themes of women’s rights and gender equality are increasingly mobilised by this party, as immigration is associated with sexual violence and gender conservatism.

Significant similarities can be observed with regard to recent changes in the ideology of the NL and the NF. The defence of gender equality seems to emerge, in contradictory ways, as a new argument used by populist radical right parties to legitimate their anti-immigration claims. The timeliness and relevance of this theoretical work is reflected in topical developments in the radical right across Europe, as the electoral success of these parties and their attempt to modernise their public image are increasingly visible in the media.

This research is ground-breaking in two ways: 

  1. Only a minority of ethnographic studies exist which focus on activism in right-wing organisations, as sociologists have tended to focus on left-wing social movements. More specifically, very few studies have investigated the role played by women in right-wing social movements. 
  2. Second, the few existing qualitative studies of women’s activism in these organisations fail to compare systematically the practices of women and men. As opposed to these existing studies, the research examines both women’s and men’s involvement in these organisations. 

France and Italy differ with regard to the place of religion in politics and society, and especially the prescriptive role played by the Catholic Church in framing public debates about the family, social policy and the integration of migrants.

Differences with regard to religion thus appear to be a strategic site for a comparative analysis of gender relations in these parties in France and Italy. Over recent years, the NL has joined forces with fundamentalist sectors of the Catholic Church in defence of the 'traditional' Italian (Catholic) family and against immigration from the Muslim countries. A twice-divorced single mother, Le Pen has to confront the Catholic traditionalist fraction of the NF which is highly critical of her attempt to appropriate secularism. However Le Pen’s secularist claims, while serving to stigmatise Muslim migrants, do not address Catholic fundamentalism

The conceptual and empirical frameworks developed by the research to investigate the relations between the radical right, the gendered division of work, the family and religion in France and Italy, will provide a basis for future studies of the radical right in other European countries, opening new paths for research on this topic which acknowledge the crucial role of gender in ‘anti-immigration’ politics.

During the fieldwork period Francesca Scrinzi has been Visiting fellow at Sciences Po, Centre for European Studies (Centre d'études européennes), Paris, France (November-December 2013), and Visiting professor, Department of Sociology, University of Milan Bicocca, Italy (February - June 2013).

Pilot studies

This project was developed building on two funded pilot studies carried out by Dr Scrinzi on the Northern league in 2010: ‘Gendering the study of anti-immigration movements in Europe: women and men activists in the Northern League party in Italy’, an ethnographic study funded by a British Academy small grant; and ‘Women’s associations and representations of gender in the Northern League party: a study of documentary sources’, a documentary study funded by an Adam Smith Research Foundation Seedcorn grant.

Documentation

Some research materials are available here on the website: Publications

Contact us

If you would like further information on this research project and its outputs, please contact:
Dr Francesca Scrinzi, School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Glasgow, Francesca.Scrinzi@glasgow.ac.uk


Fran├žais

Une étude comparative sur la participation des femmes et des hommes dans la Ligue du Nord (Italie) et dans le Front National (France)

Ce projet de recherche couvrant deux ans se propose d’approfondir la compréhension de la montée des mobilisations ‘anti-immigration’ dans la société européenne contemporaine.

Le projet est financé par le Conseil Européen de la Recherche, programme Starting Grant. 

Chercheuse

Francesca Scrinzi, Sociologie, Université de Glasgow, Royaume Uni

Objectifs

Sur la base de deux études pilotes menées en 2010, cette recherche ethnographique et comparative analyse la dimension de genre des mouvements sociaux ‘anti-immigration’ dans l’Europe contemporaine. Elle se fonde sur l’examen des différentes formes d’activisme liées aux deux partis de la Ligue du Nord italienne et du Front National français. Les thèmes des droits des femmes et de l’égalité de genre sont aujourd’hui mobilisés par ces partis: l’immigration est associée aux violences faites aux femmes et à une vision conservatrice des rapports entre les sexes.

Des analogies peuvent être observées à propos des développements récents de l’idéologie de la Ligue du Nord et du Front National. La défense de l’égalité de genre semble se manifester comme un nouveau argument utilisé dans les revendications anti-immigration. Le caractère d’actualité de cette étude se révèle dans la montée des mouvements ‘anti-immigration’ dans l’Europe entière, dans leurs succès électoraux et dans leurs tentatives de moderniser leur image publique, de plus en plus visibles dans les médias.

Cette recherche est novatrice sous deux aspects.

  1. Une petite partie seulement des études ethnographiques du militantisme s’est consacrée aux organisations de droite, car les sociologues se sont surtout concentrés sur les mouvements sociaux de gauche. Plus particulièrement, très peu d’études ont analysé le rôle joué par les femmes dans les mouvements de 
  2. Les quelques études qualitatives qui existent sur le militantisme des femmes dans ces organisations ne s’attachent pas à comparer de manière systématique les pratiques féminines et masculines. Par opposition aux études existantes, cette recherche analyse tant les pratiques militantes des hommes que celles des femmes dans ces deux partis.

Le cadre conceptuel utilisé par la recherche pour analyser les rapports entre la droite radicale, la division sexuelle du travail, la famille et la religion en France et en Italie fournira une base pour les études à venir concernant la droite radicale dans les autres pays européens. Cette étude ouvrira de nouvelles pistes de recherche qui reconnaissent le rôle fondamental des rapports sociaux de sexe dans les mobilisations ‘anti-immigration’. En plus, cette recherche contribuira à développer la connaissance et la compréhension de l’influence grandissante que ces partis sont en train d’acquérir dans les sociétés européennes.

Des matériaux concernant le projet de recherche tout comme les premiers résultats de l’étude sont disponibles dans ce site: Publications

Informations supplémentaires

Si vous désirez avoir des informations supplémentaires sur ce projet de recherche et sur ses résultats, n’hésitez pas à joindre: Dr Francesca Scrinzi, School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Glasgow, UK, Francesca.Scrinzi@glasgow.ac.uk


Italiano

Uno studio comparativo dell’attivismo maschile e femminile nella Lega Nord (Italia) e nel Fronte Nazionale (Francia)

Questo progetto della durata di due anni si propone di accrescere la comprensione degli attuali sviluppi dei movimenti sociali cosiddetti ‘anti-immigrazione’ nell’Europa contemporanea.

La ricerca è finanziata dallo European Research Council, programma Starting Grant

Ricercatrice: Dott.ssa Francesca Scrinzi, Sociologia, Università di Glasgow, Regno Unito

Obiettivi

Basata su due studi pilota condotti nel 2010, questa ricerca etnografica e comparativa indaga la dimensione di genere dei movimenti sociali ‘anti-immigrazione’ nell’Europa contemporanea, attraverso l’analisi dell’attivismo associativo legato al partito della Lega Nord in Italia e al partito del Fronte Nazionale in Francia. In particolare, la ricerca indaga la nuova visibilità del tema dei diritti delle donne e quello della parità tra i generi e la loro associazione all’agenda ‘anti-immigrazione’ di questi partiti.

Questa ricerca è innovativa sotto due aspetti:

  1. Cosa perché solo una minoranza di studi etnografici dei movimenti sociali si è concentrata sull’attivismo nelle organizzazioni di destra – l’attenzione dei sociologi si è focalizzata sui movimenti sociali di sinistra. Più specificatamente, sono rari i lavori che hanno studiato il ruolo svolto dalle donne nei movimenti sociali della destra ‘anti-immigrazione’.
  2. I pochi studi qualitativi esistenti sull’attivismo femminile in queste organizzazioni non mettono sistematicamente a confronto le pratiche degli uomini e delle donne. Contrariamente a questi studi, la ricerca prenderà in esame le esperienze e i percorsi degli donne e degli uomini che sono attivi in queste organizzazioni.

Il quadro concettuale e le metodologie sviluppate da questa ricerca per analizzare le relazioni tra la destra radicale, la divisione del lavoro tra i sessi, la famiglia e la religione in Francia e in Italia, forniranno la base per gli studi futuri su questi partiti in altri paesi europei. In questo modo, questo studio aprirà nuove piste di ricerca sull’argomento, che riconoscano il ruolo cruciale della dimensione di genere nelle mobilitazioni ‘anti-immigrazione’.

Questo sito è in costruzione. Alcuni materiali sul progetto di ricerca sono disponibili: Publications

Se volete avere ulteriori informazioni su questo progetto di ricerca e i suoi risultati, contattate: Dr Francesca Scrinzi, School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Glasgow, UK, Francesca.Scrinzi@glasgow.ac.uk