D5.2 Country Report | October 2022

Authors: Miriam Haselbacher, Astrid Mattes, Ursula Reeger – Institute for Urban and Regional Research, Austrian Academy of Sciences 

In this report, we provide an overview of gendered radicalisation traits in Austria. We focus on the most pronounced strand of radicalisation in the country, namely right-wing extremism. We analyse (radicalised) narratives that revolve around misogyny, homophobia, sexism and transphobia in the media, production and circulation of media objects by prominent stakeholders of radicalisation, and the attempts to counter these narratives by stakeholders of de-radicalisation and by citizens in the context of communication. 

Our results show how right-wing extremist protagonists use online platforms to reproduce their misogynist, anti-feminist, and anti-egalitarian worldviews. Gendered radicalisation traits online are thus a continuation of offline battles that are not confined to online spheres. We see how offline networks and alliances are mirrored online within all groups that we have studied. Here, online activities create opportunities towards political confrontation, as well as new forms of engagement with like-minded others, rather than creating platforms of dialogue. 

Despite the significant numbers of followers that the accounts of stakeholders of de-radicalisation have, comments and responses are rare if not non-existent. This can be explained by the approach followed by de-radicalisation stakeholders to educate and raise awareness on certain topics. Agents of radicalisation, by contrast, build upon interaction with their followers and successfully trigger reactions by posting statements that provoke collective outrage. Although they refer to each other and counteract each other’s narratives, there is no interaction between agents of radicalisation and agents of de-radicalisation. Online communication between stakeholders of radicalisation and stakeholders of de-radicalisation in Austria therefore follows the principle of talking about each other, but not talking to each other.