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A Matter of ‘Extremism’?: Ideas about democracy and political change within Anarchist and Autonomist activists in Sweden
Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, Sociology.
Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, Sociology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3886-0298
2013 (English)Conference paper, Presentation (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this paper is to identify the relationship towards democracy amongst anarchist and autonomist movement activists. Using the case of activists in Sweden, we scrutinize the relationship to the idea and practice of democracy found in contemporary radical left. How is democracy framed in groups such as these? By so doing we wish to add to and develop the research field on left movements and parties that sometimes are labeled “extreme”. We believe that the “extremism” concept is troublesome in several ways, mainly since it is an ‘asymmetrical concept’ in Koselleck’s sense. In spite of this acknowledgement, we will tentatively use it, in order to mirror and thereby capture how “democracy”, as an idea and practice, is framed by anarchist and autonomous activists.


In the paper we compare the notion of extremism with the ideas of autonomous and anarchist activist activists in Sweden. The five common elements attributed to the concept of extremism could not be found in the interviews. To the contrary, using the concept in order to find extremism showed a pattern of values usually attributed to the concept of ”deliberative democracy”.


Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. 1-25 p.
Keyword [en]
politics, values, democracy, extremism, anarchist
National Category
Research subject
Politics, Economy and the Organization of Society
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-20211OAI: diva2:665352
ECPR General Conference Sciences Po, Bordeaux 4–7 september 2013.
Anarchists in the East and West
The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies
Available from: 2013-11-19 Created: 2013-11-19 Last updated: 2016-09-21Bibliographically approved

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