Right-wing violence is comprised of a diverse set of movements that include extremists motivated by a range of distinct, yet related ideologies, and linked through a complex web of in-person organizations and online spaces. Our recent analysis of right-wing terrorist attacks in the Global Terrorism Database (GTD) illustrates shifting dynamics in motivations, targets, and tactics. However, classifying events according to perpetrator motivations and movement affiliations is not straightforward. We identify three primary challenges to characterizing meaningful patterns: (1) substantial overlap and diversity in ideology and membership among far-right movements and actors; (2) ambiguity regarding which aspects of an individual assailant’s identity or belief system are relevant to their use of violence; and (3) inconsistent availability of relevant event and assailant information. In this chapter, we discuss these methodological challenges and the corresponding strategies we implemented while using open-source data to illustrate critical trends in right-wing terrorism documented in the GTD.
Miller, Erin, Elizabeth A. Yates & Sheehan Kane. 2022. "Check All That Apply: Challenges in Tracking Ideological Movements That Motivate Right-Wing Terrorism." In Right-Wing Extremism in Canada and the United States, eds. Barbara Perry, Jeff Gruenewald, and Ryan Scrivens. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-99804-2_6