While digital activism has formed part of social movements’ contentious repertoires for at least two decades, online forms of protest have risen to unprecedented importance across the globe in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. This article studies continuities and shifts in digital activism before, during and beyond the pandemic, drawing from a case study conducted of the Dresden-based far-right social movement organisation PEGIDA. Seeking to shed new light on the role of the internet and social media for sustained far-right mobilisation, I explore long-term trends in PEGIDA’s digital activism since its emergence in 2014. To this aim, I draw from an original patchwork ethnographic dataset generated through participant observation of demonstrations in Dresden and digital ethnography in 2019-21 as well as undertaking a thorough literature review. The empirical analysis indicates three key findings: Firstly, the longitudinal perspective reveals that a social movement actor’s digital practices are not bound to one or a few ideal-types, but highly dynamic over time. Secondly, my interpretive-ethnographic lens emphasises the constitutive dimensions of digital activism. Thirdly, the analytical focus on digital activism during the pandemic adds new insights into the relationship between the online and offline worlds of mobilisation. As a whole, this article underscores some of the key advantages of (patchwork) ethnography in relation to other methods in protest research.


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2022-12-30 — Updated on 2023-01-26

How to Cite

Volk, S. (2023). FAR-RIGHT DIGITAL ACTIVISM DURING AND BEYOND THE PANDEMIC: A PATCHWORK ETHNOGRAPHIC APPROACH. Ethnologia Polona, 43. https://doi.org/10.23858/ethp.2022.43.3001