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Structures of Bias: How the State Systematically Downplays Right-Wing Extremism

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The Center for European and Russian Studies invites you to a talk by Jonathan Homola to discuss his forthcoming publication Structures of Bias: How the State Systematically Downplays Right-Wing Extremism (co-authored with Jeyhun Alizade and Rafaela Dancygier). The talk will be followed by audience Q&A and will take place at Bunche Hall Room 10383 on March 5th at 2PM. Register now!

About the Talk

The rise of right-wing extremism (RWE) is often attributed to citizens' economic and cultural grievances. We know less about how the state facilitates RWE in contemporary democracies, despite commonly voiced claims that state actors help RWE flourish due to their biased treatment of political extremism. How valid is this critique? Analyzing thousands of documents covering the behavior of political parties, intelligence agencies, and the police in Germany over many decades and across states, we demonstrate that state actors have systematically downplayed RWE. This bias is not a feature of the state per se; it only emerges consistently among center-right actors. Partisanship thus biases how even presumptively neutral state actors address the far-right extremist threat, a bias that we find exists even in the absence of strategic electoral considerations. Taken together, our research demonstrates that the very state actors charged with fighting extremism are highly influenced by partisanship and ideology.

About the Speaker

Jonathan Homola is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science. Most of his research deals with questions of representation and electoral preferences. More specifically, his work mostly falls into two main fields of interest: i) xenophobia and (support for right-wing) extremism, and ii) gender and politics. Jonathan’s regional areas of expertise are Western democracies and Eastern Europe. His research has been published in outlets such as the American Political Science Review, the Journal of Politics, Political Analysis, the British Journal of Political Science, and Comparative Political Studies. Jonathan received his BA from Freie Universität Berlin, an MRes from the University of Essex, and his PhD from Washington University in St. Louis.


Bunche Hall 10383
(10th floor of Bunche Hall)
315 Portola Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90095


Parking Structure 5 is closest to the event venue. Parking Structure 5 is accessible from Royce Drive, south of Sunset Boulevard, and west of Hilgard Ave. (in the northeast section of the campus). Alternatively, Parking Structure 4 is also close to the venue and has Pay-By-Space Visitor Parking available. Guest drop/Ride-share drop off is closest at the turnaround at the front of Royce Hall located at: 10745 Dickson Court, Los Angeles, CA 90095. Accessible parking: If you have accessibility needs, you may park in the Pay-By-Space/Visitor Parking area on the rooftop (level 5) of this structure, and proceed to the Self-Service Pay Station machine to pay by credit card.