The monograph I
looked at was Hilary Pilkington’s Loud and Proud, which looked at the ‘rise of
new ‘far right’ and ‘populist radical right’ across Europe’. From intently
reading this monograph the research question I gained was what are the
structural factors that allow these ‘fascist’ groups to grow? The social implications
of the EDL on society is that it creates a bigger divide between what is seen
as ‘white British’ or non-Muslim and those who do carry out the teachings of
Islam. It creates tensions between these people as well by portraying one group
as not as welcome compared to those who were born here.  By reading I observed that the aims and
objectives of this monograph was to paint the EDL in a new light. From seeing
them as stereotypical ‘drunken racist football hooligans’ to individuals
fighting for a cause and change in their country. In this monograph, the
arguments made were that there were reasons behind the members joining and it
wasn’t all based on being ‘racist’ and violent football fans like the media
portrayed them to be. This was supported by Hilary looking deeper into the
lives of the members. By telling their stories it allowed us as readers to gain
insight into why they would join. The author was able to turn a sociological
problem, the growth of far-right movements into a research question, what are
the structural factors that allow these ‘fascist’ groups to grow? By…………….. the
way the author began the research was by digging into what is the EDL exactly
and getting in contact with the people who are part of it.

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qualitative methodology and/ method

in this monograph,
ethnographic research methods were used such as participant observations.
Hilary Pilkington, got involved with the people of the EDL and observed them in
their own environments and ‘in the context of their daily lives’. The use of
this method was appropriate and successful as it allowed the researcher to be
more emotional involved with the participants as well as them feeling more comfortable
since the observations were in line with how they go about their everyday lives,
which would lead to more reliable findings as participants would be more likely
to open up as a result of feeling comfortable and at ease with the observation
taking place. Participants would also feel this way due to the researcher
taking part as well, of course not to the extent of the EDL members but
attending EDL demos, protests, marches, divisional meetings, ‘informal social
occasions’ as well as the crown court trial of two respondents, this allowed
the members being observed to be even more contented as this was someone who
was trying to conduct their research in accordance of how they live. It was
mentioned in the monograph that the researcher attended more demos than some
actual members. Interviews were also used by Pilkington in her research. It was
highlighted that individuals were approached for an interview ‘either following
contact with them at demonstrations or after an initial approach by a key
informant’ the interviews were more unstructured and open ended as she placed
emphasis on how they were ‘conducted like conversations’. This method was relevant
and effective as it allowed the researcher to collect a generous amount of
qualitative data due to how open it was. The interview included six ‘broad
themes’ which allowed the researcher to collect necessary data that related to
the aims and objectives of the study but keeping it more laidback and
comfortable for the interviewee so that they don’t feel pressured or
intimidated into answering in a certain way. It also allowed the researcher to
collect data around other topics that they may have not considered before which
would permit them to look into and even open up a discussion surrounding that.
The methodology used in this study in terms of how the researcher approached it
is objectively. It is argued that not a lot of people carry out qualitative
research on far-right groups because of how problematic the theme is. Researchers
acknowledge the disapproval of these groups and so unconsciously have a ‘lack
of sympathy’. The use of the researcher to use the methods that she did I think
has allowed her to produce a strong qualitative piece of work. Interviews and
observations as well as audio and visual recordings which have been transcribed
by the author, has created a piece of research that is strong for what
Pilkington is trying to understand.  Becker’s
Telling society explained that every way of telling a story is perfect in its
own way, for its particular purpose. He highlights that ‘there is no best way
to tell a story’ (p.285). telling society encourages us to have a deeper look
into the methods that sociologists use to present knowledge such as photographs
and statistical tables and any other way they have used these methods to ‘tell
others what they know about their society’. This is known as “representations
of society”. The way that Hillary ‘tells society’ is through her photographs
that she has included in the monograph. These images allow you to feel more
engaged in the research as you can put a face to the people of the EDL. it
‘tells society’ by showing us what individuals in that society are like, how
they live their life and what being part of a community like the EDL entails.
Photographs such as EDL members at demos, holding the saint George’s cross and
so forth alongside a piece of writing about their life, stories about why they
joined and more information about happenings in the images really gives the
reader a perception of what EDL life is and the lives of those who are part of
it.  The stories that the author
transcribes of the EDL members as to why they joined and how they grew up, tell
us who they are and why they are doing this. As Becker says that it gives us a
‘picture that is only partial but nevertheless adequate for some purpose”. These
stories and reports shape how we view the social by altering our perceptions.
For example, when we think of the EDL we automatically deem them as racist and
bigoted which would lead us to then not view them as people with emotions with
backstories but just as people whose views are not in line with ours. However,
when the author now tells us these stories we begin to humanise them as we see
they have been through tragic situations and childhoods, and may even start to
understand why it has lead them to join a movement such as the EDL. We begin to
see the society in which the EDL exists as ‘like us’ in a way and start to have
empathy for them.


sociological imagination

the social
relevance of this monograph is that it is bringing up current anxieties, one
thing in our society that is existing is racism and islamophobia. Especially
islamophobia with the rise of media depicting immigrants as threats and hiding
it in a way that does not seem to be racist. This creates a hysteria towards
the idea of ‘outsiders’. These anxieties leave room for far right groups to
grow such as the EDL. this matters as these are problems that effect minorities
currently in our society, a number of Muslims may feel uncomfortable and
apprehensive being in a country where they are not welcome. The EDL emphasises
that they are not racist and if anything, just islamophobic, however it is argued
they show hostility towards Asians which is a ‘race’. The assumption that a
majority of Asians are Muslims leads to a contradiction. The targeting of one
group and their religion is going to concern those who identify with the group.
In this monograph, the author highlights private troubles and showed how they
are made into public issues. By splitting the EDL activists into subheadings
such as age, gender and sexuality etc. and then explaining how it relates back
to the an EDL member and then wider society. For example, Declan, a homosexual
male who had joined the BNP when he was 13 (2005) due to the fact that his
parents were also BNP members. He left in 2009 because they were not open to
his sexuality, so he joined the EDL because he ‘found it more open towards him
as a young gay man’. The private trouble is the fact that Declan did not feel
accepted by a group that he had been apart of for 4 years because of his
sexuality. This is turned in to a public issue by the author as it highlights the
fact that sexuality is seen as unacceptable in religion as it is stated that
the reason why Declan is against Islam as it stated that ‘gays should be taken
to the top of the mountain and thrown off’. And the idea that homosexuality is
still not accepted in our society today. Another example is Connor who when the
author first interviewed him at 15 was neither in education or employment. His
private trouble was the fact he was unemployed and was not able to get back
into education due to the fact that the school he attended closed down and
other institutions around the area failed to accommodate him because he was an
EDL supporter. This is made into a public issue by the author as it highlights
the high unemployed and early school leaving age rate of those who are part of
far right groups. Pilkington included pie charts showing that 49% of EDL members
were unemployed. This is showing that the public issue of increase of white British
working class individuals being unemployed. It is highlighted in the monograph
that many EDL members blame immigrants for their lack of a job since they feel
they are taking all the jobs that are ‘mean for British people’. This
frustration has been the reason for many white British working class people
joining far right groups. Other problems and issues uncovered in the monograph

where can u see the authors sociological
imagination at work?

Add a quote from social imagination

in this monograph,
the author used other concepts and theories to develop and explore her
arguments this is also known as her theoretical framework. In chapter 1 the
author was stating that there may be methodological issues when It comes to
studying far right groups because of the ‘disapproving tone to lack of
sympathy’. This leads to a clash between positivist and verstehen methodology
as well as interpretivist approaches having the same tone even though they are
well established in the social science. Pilkington uses Blee as well to support
her claim that they will be ‘more than methodological issues at stake’. To do
this she uses a quote, few academics ‘want to invest the considerable time or
to establish the rapport necessary for close-up studies of those they regard as
inexplicable and repugnant, in addition to dangerous and difficult’. In chapter
2 Hillary mentions on page 42 about the hierarchal structure of the EDL. The
idea is that the EDL are different from other right-wing groups since they
don’t have a ‘leader’. She states that right wing and populist parties usually
have a hierarchy in their groups were the males are leaders and ‘exploit modern
trends of the political profession to perfection’ this statement she has used
has been credited as from Wodak. Pilkington has used this as a way to build up
her evidence of how there is usually a hierarchy structure in far-right groups



in this
monograph when it comes to ethical issues something that I witnessed was the
authors relationships with the participants. Due to the circumstance that she
was observing and attending these EDL related events more frequently than other
members she found herself getting close to the participants. She mentioned that
on their way to Walthamstow a member called Jack caught her when she nearly
fell on the tube and found her a spot to stand. When she had to pay for the
coach to travel to a demo abroad, Kurt who is unemployed payed for her. When she
had experienced verbal abuse by a member from another division, Rachel and Lisa
told the guy to back off. When jack at his trial had to make an important decision
about his plea the author sits with him. Situations like these make it harder
for the researcher to stay objective in their research because they are
beginning to build a close relationship with the members. This is an ethical
issue as it plays with the emotions of the research participants, as human
beings when we feel ourselves getting closer to someone we tend to share more
with them unlike complete strangers. Due to the author, continuously being
present some of the research participants may have unconsciously forgotten that
they were part of a study and may have viewed her as an actual member of the
EDL. The researcher may view their relationship with the participants as ‘doing
their job’ but these individuals may see the researcher as a friend. This can
lead to the participants sharing emotional, personal incidents that they would
never normally tell anyone who they were not close to based on the fact they
feel like they have really formed a bond with the researcher. In terms of how ethical
concerns are managed key places such as pubs which would be used for EDL
meetings were anonymised to protect the owners from threats. Interviews and
diary entries were also anonymised so that key respondents were mentioned using
pseudonyms. Any family or friends that were mentioned in the book were removed as
well as references to places that could expose any personal information about
the respondents. The use of these techniques means that appropriate measures
were taken to store research data in a secure manner, as the ‘link between data
and identifiable individuals will be harder to break.  The author carrying out these procedures is
also part of their professional integrity. As the BSA statement of ethical
practice states ‘sociologists have a responsibility both to safeguard the
proper interests of those involved in or affected by their work’. By hiding
certain information this helps protect the participants from violence or aggression
that could occur to them especially since they are part of a problematic
movement. When it comes to how far the anonymity and confidentiality of participants
plays a part in the study the anonymization of diary entries, names, locations
etc. do provide a level of confidentiality and privacy. However, we can argue
that the incorporation (593) photos and (130) video clips that expose the faces
of members does not promote this anonymity.



to end this monograph had its strengths and
weaknesses, the research conducted allowed the reader to see the EDL in a
different light. By the author conducting her observation inside the group
unlike numerous number of researchers who avoid looking into far-right
movements or tend to distance themselves by using self- complete questionnaires
etc. with these sorts of methods you are unable to gain a true insight on the
beliefs of that group, so the author using the methods she did truly worked and
allowed us to understand the beliefs and stories of the EDL and its members. Having
said that as a reader you can feel a sense of biasness playing a part in the research.
I feel like the author was trying to prove that the EDL were not how the media portray
them to be. The continual attempt to prove that the EDL were open to all and
the only problem they head were with Islam as a religion can me shown throughout
the monograph. The idea that we can’t be that bad if we have a gay division, a
female division and other ‘races’ apart of our movement. This monograph highlighted
relevant concepts such as multiculturalism and the debate on if being anti-multiculturalism
is racist. In the monograph, you see EDL members stating that multiculturalism is
a good thing whereas individuals discussing that multiculturalism is ‘destroying
diversity’. In conclusion, this monograph was strong to an extent, in terms of research
the author put a lot of thought into how they were going to conduct the study. The
incorporation of images, interviews, diary entries etc. made this piece of research
incredibly strong. I feel that the author made their aims and objectives which
means that overall that this book was strong. 


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