I have been pursuing interview-based and ethnographic research since March 2013 on the Front National (FN), the radical ring wing party led by Marine Le Pen. The project compares "classic" older National Front adherents in the southeast of France with the more sociologically diverse young new adherents, especially members of the National Front's youth organization. The project examines not only how Marine Le Pen has "normalized" the party, but how she has steered it into a more populist direction. This populism is deeply gendered. I've observed populist performances within party events, and the gendered symbolic ecology permeating the party. Additionally, I am examining the "reception" side of this gendered symbolic ecology; that is, how do FN activists make sense of their critique of politics and political elites, and their support - even love - for Marine, by employing deeply gendered imagery.
This year I'm focusing on this project as a EURIAS Fellow at the Collegium de Lyon, a French Institute for Advanced Studies.
As a side project, I am working on a paper on bourgeois Catholics who were at the core of the Manif Pour Tous (MPT), the social movement which organized to oppose same-sex marriage in the spring of 2013. This project focuses on how class contestations intermingle with moral claims against same-sex marriage and "gender theory." I am also following a conservative resurgence within the European Parliament
An interview on my Front National research has been featured on the CEU website. You can also read more about it on this blog post I wrote for the American Sociological Association's political sociology section. My work on the National Front has appeared on Swedish Radio and Euronews.