Projects should contribute to all of the following expected outcomes:
- Develop a critical understanding of the construction and performance of gender roles in extremist, identitarian and nationalist movements and their impact on democracy, EU values and fundamental rights.
- Provide evidence-based insights into the role of online communities in the promotion of reactionary, identitarian and extremist ideals, focusing in particular on different forms of masculinity from an intersectional perspective and drawing on engagement with these communities and platforms.
- Examine gender roles in political leadership styles and narratives, especially in nationalist and extremist parties, and their impact on democratic participation, decision-making and trust in governance, and propose alternative models for more democratic leadership.
- Develop innovative methods, policy approaches and tools to tackle antidemocratic narratives and tendencies, characterised by identitarian, nationalist and extremist ideals.
While gender and feminist scholarship in democracy tends to focus on the role of women and female representation, the role of men and different forms of masculinity are equally important to gain a comprehensive understanding of the impact of gender roles and inequalities on democratic discourse, decision-making and governance.
The past years have witnessed a rise of identitarian (alt-right), reactionary and other extremist politics, arguably strengthened by the pandemic and the isolation it created. Many of these ideals and politics are developing in online forums and platforms, often characterised by a contempt for the ‘liberal’ elite and perceived as tools for the radicalisation of (young) men. In extreme cases, such politics have been openly hostile towards women, LGBTIQ+ collectives and people with a minority racial or ethnic background, and even openly advocated for violence towards them, leading to increased hate speech, harassment, and hate crimes. More research is needed into these groups and milieus, especially through active engagement and deliberation with them on their perceptions around socio-political change, fundamental rights, and anxiety about perceived threats to their gendered identity. Therefore, proposals should develop strategies and practical solutions for the engagement and deliberation with men involved in reactionary, identitarian, or far-right nationalist online forums, and examine the influence of the online discourse in such platforms on the constitution of extremist movements, as well as their relation to mainstream (online) platforms and political discourse. This includes, but is not limited to, an analysis and engagement with different types of masculinity, how these relate to political violence, gender-based violence, and hate crimes, and perceptions around EU values and socio-political change. Interdisciplinary approaches, connecting social and political sciences with the use of information and communication technologies, including artificial intelligence, are particularly encouraged for this topic.
Moreover, the increased uncertainty and political challenges generated by the pandemic, has been coupled with a turn towards hyper-masculinistic modes of leadership and politics that require further analysis. In this context, proposals should consider the interrelation between top-down hyper-masculinistic leadership styles and bottom-up identitarian, nationalist and other extremist movements developing in online spaces, and analyse their impact on democratic participation, decision-making and trust in governance. Historical experiences of leadership and politics in crisis situations may also be considered in this regard.
Building on the evidence-based insights, proposals should develop innovative methods, policy approaches and tools for policymakers and practitioners to address the underlying roots of violent, discriminatory and illiberal political discourse and actions in both public and online spaces. This could include awareness-raising and training activities on the threats of identitarian and reactionary ideals for democracy and EU values, as well as innovative practices to deliberate with the targeted communities.
Proposals are encouraged to build on past EU-funded projects as well as plan to exploit potential synergies with project(s) funded under HORIZON-CL3-2024-FCT-01-04: Radicalisation and gender.