Researching the Right for Progressive Changemakers


Studying the U.S. Political Right

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On PRA's Public Eye Website  |   Books & Reports from PRA;
Links & Directories on this Website
Selected Research, Resources, Course Outlines, and Links
Challenging Centrist/Extremist Theory  |   Sociology of Social Movements
Other Research Resources  |   Bibliography  |   Physical Archives


On PRA's Public Eye Website:

Selected Resources

Archives Online on this Website

Patriot Movement & Militias

The Ultra Right


What to do!

  • Building Equality
  • Strategies for Challenging the Political Right
  • Building Democracy & Diversity
  • Challenging Conservative & Theocratic Policies
  • Challenging the Far Right & Hate Groups
  • Browse Links to our Key Allies
  • More
  • Books & Reports from Political Research Associates

    Major Reports, Books, & Studies from PRA

    Online Bookstore




    Links Pages & Directories on this Website


    Selected Research, Resources, Course Outlines, and Links

    Mark Rupert - Syracuse University
    Virtual Guided Tour of Regressive Populist Anti-Globalism

    Globalization and the Reconstruction of Common Sense in the US

    James Danky - University of Wisconsin - The American Right
    An Annotated List of Selected Serials Published by the Far Right by John Cherney and Jim Danky

    Books about the Far Right: A Selected Bibliography by John Cherney and Jim Danky

    Selected Links

    Student Bibliographic Studies

    Studying Racism - Camara Phyllis Jones - Harvard School of Public Health

    Ethnicity, Migration, Racism - Dutch SocioSite


    Challenging Centrist/Extremist Theory

    The language many people use to talk about right-wing groups and movements -- "extremist," "lunatic fringe, "radical right," "wing nuts," -- and the idea of a political "horseshoe" map where "extremists of the left and right" merge, is a legacy of Centrist/Extremist Theory, sometimes called the Pluralist School. These ideas come from Lipset, Bell, and others who went on to form the neoconservative movement in the US. Many sociologists who study right wing movements consider Centrist/Extremist Theory to have been thoroughly discredited, yet it remains the primary model for public discussions, and influences major human relations groups in the US.

    As a reaction against Centrist/Extremist theories, several theoretical frameworks emerged: resource mobilization, political process model, political opportunity structures, new social movements theory, frame analysis, collective identities, etc. These can be lumped together under the name "complex social movement theories. Complex social movement theories are highly critical of Centrist/Extremist Theory as a legacy of cold war liberal politics.

    There are three historic analytical models for studying social and political movements of the right:

    Overviews of the Three Conceptual Models

    Ideological Frameworks and Assumptions Regarding Dissident Social Movements

    There are repercussions when applying Centrist/Extremist Theory to dissident movements, since it is a framework that encourages the violation of civil liberties. Centrist/Extremist Theory anticipates violence as an inevitable outcome of dissent. Overreaction in the form of police excessive use of force or surveillance abuse is a common outcome. The article

    This study has four topical reviews:

    • Liberal & Neoconservative Collaboration in State Repression
    • The San Francisco Spying Scandal and ADL
    • Repression, RICO, and Anti-abortion Terrorism
    • Repression and the Patriot and Armed Militia Movements.

    Authoritarian State Repression and Countersubversion is an in-depth review of the theories of Frank Donner


    Basic Sociology of Social Movements

    Some Sociological Sense by Dan Brook
    An introduction to basic sociological concepts

    Glossary of Terms Used to Study Social Movements
    Washington State University - American Studies

    American Social Movement Cultures
    Washington State University - American Studies


    Other Research Resources -- The Money Behind the Media: A large searchable collection of grant data from 990 forms from right-wing foundations and their grantees on this site. Can be daunting at first, but worth the effort.

    Data Center's Impact Research Collection of Links

    Research-Oriented Websites
    Virtual Gumshoe: Investigative Resources on the Web

    Researching Right-Wing Policy Formation

    Researching Right-Wing Funding & Foundations

    Research Skills, Logic, & Propaganda

    Websites Debunking Conspiracism & Urban Legends

    Social Psychology Links

    Bibliography on Holocaust Denial



    Audio Programs Online

    Changesurfer Radio:
    Right-wing Populism in America
    07/13/2002 - Length: 29:30
    Subtitle: Interview with Chip Berlet

    Beyond the Pale: The Progressive Jewish Radio Hour
    7/6/01 Length: 60:00
    Subtitle: Guest Chip Berlet, expert on the Right Wing, discusses conspiracy theory in "Rule by Secrecy" by Jim Marrs



    The Electoral Right in the U.S.

    A Selected Bibliography for Researching the Contemporary Scene

    Himmelstein, Jerome L. 1990. To the Right: The Transformation of American Conservatism. Berkeley: University of California Press.

    Diamond, Sara. 1995. Roads to Dominion: Right–Wing Movements and Political Power in the United States, New York: Guilford.

    Frank, Thomas. 2004. What's the Matter with Kansas?: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America. New York: Metropolitan Books.

    Ferguson, Thomas, and Joel Rogers. 1986. Right Turn: The Decline of the Democrats and the Future of American Politics. New York: Hill and Wang.

    Lakoff, George. [1996] 2002. Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think. Chicago: University of Chicago.

    Kazin, Michael. 1995. The Populist Persuasion: An American History. New York: Basic Books.

    Faludi, Susan. 1992. Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women. New York: Doubleday.

    Brennan, Mary C. 1995. Turning Right in the Sixties: The Conservative Capture of the GOP. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

    Balz, Daniel J., and Ronald Brownstein. 1996. Storming the Gates: Protest Politics and the Republican Revival. Boston: Little, Brown.

    Hodgson, Godfrey. 1996. The World Turned Right Side Up: A History of the Conservative Ascendancy in America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

    Hardisty, Jean V. 1999. Mobilizing Resentment: Conservative Resurgence from the John Birch Society to the Promise Keepers. Boston: Beacon.

    Berlet, Chip and Matthew N. Lyons. 2000. Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort. New York: Guilford Press.

    Easton, Nina J. 2000. Gang of Five: Leaders at the Center of the Conservative Crusade. New York: Simon and Schuster.

    McGirr, Lisa. 2001. Suburban Warriors: The Origins of the New American Right. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

    Perlstein, Rick. 2001. Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus. New York: Hill and Wang.

    Schoenwald, Jonathan M. 2001. A Time for Choosing: The Rise of Modern American Conservatism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


    Physical Archives

    Political Research Associates has one of the largest physical collections of right-wing literature available by appointment to serious scholars in the United States. In terms of breadth--from conservative electoral groups to extreme right neonazis, with both primary and secondary material on racism, sexism, heterosexism, antisemitism, authoritarianism, and other forms of oppression--it is the most comprehensive public collection on the U.S. political right. The collection contains over 5,000 books, 1100 serial titles, 48 drawers of files, scores of archival boxes, and hundreds of video and audio tapes: more than 500,000 documents and other items.

    An especially useful annotated list of archives and collections of papers is:

    Private Papers Pertaining to the History of the Conservative Movement in the United States.

    Other large general library/archive collections open to scholars through special arrangement include:

    The University of Iowa - Social Documents Collection. The largest collection of right-wing periodicals and ephemera. "Today the Collection contains periodicals, pamphlets, flyers, radio broadcast scripts, handbills, leaflets, bulletins, news sheets, correspondence, bumper stickers, and even tea bags issued by the Tax Rebellion Committee of Los Angeles County. Periodicals in the Collection include such titles as America's Future, Christian News, Colorado Leader, Free China Journal, Spotlight, and Sword of the Lord. Most of the publications in the collection have been received as gifts from the publishers. There are 918 document boxes and 36 file drawers of material.

    The University of Kansas - Wilcox Collection. Printed material from both Right & Left dissident groups.
    " is one of the largest assemblages of US left and right wing political literature in this country. Established in 1965, the collection has grown steadily to include coverage of more than 10,000 individuals and organizations. The bulk of the collection covers 1960 to the present and is comprised of nearly 10,000 books, pamphlets and periodicals, 800 audio tapes, 73 linear feet of manuscript materials and more than 100,000 pieces of ephemera including flyers, brochures, mailings, clippings and bumper stickers."

    The State Historical Society of Wisconsin - Newspapers & Periodicals Collection - has an extraordinary collection of microfilmed right-wing periodicals. The Social Action Collection includes material on right-to-life groups. Try searching online. This works best if you know the name of a specific periodical: Chronicles of Culture, American Mercury. Otherwise, try using a keywords or subject browse search: conservatives; abortion; extremists; white supremacy movements; neo-nazis.

    University of California at Berkeley

    The Bancroft Library at U.C. Berkeley maintains the Sara Diamond Collection on the U.S. Right:

    "A collection of materials on the conservative movement in the United States, some of which date back to the '40s and '50s, has been given to the Bancroft Library by sociologist Sara Diamond. The 62 boxes of material from her personal archive contain primary source material from right-wing organizations, and also notes by Diamond which she took during conservative meetings and rallies. Described as critical of conservatives, Diamond is the author of several books about the U.S. right, including Roads to Dominion: Right-Wing Movements and Political Power in the United States, and... Not by Politics Alone: The Enduring Influence of the Christian Right."

    This collection is currently unprocessed, but portions have been cleared. Contact the library for more information.

    The Center for the Comparative Study of Right-Wing Movements is also housed at the University of California at Berkeley (

    U.S Holocaust Memorial Museum Library

    The Simon Wiesenthal Center - Antisemitism, Nazi Genocide, Race Hate. Library is open to serious scholars and students who apply in writing. "The Simon Wiesenthal Center Museum of Tolerance Library and Archives has grown from a fledgling fifty books in 1978, to a collection of over 40,000 volumes and non-print materials. The Archives is a repository, incorporating photographs, diaries, letters, artifacts, artwork and rare books, which are available to researchers, students and the general public."

    Other topical collections:
    Tufts University - (being cataloged) the Institute for First Amendment Studies collection focusing on the Christian Right.

    University of Oregon - Ask for the Keith Stimely Collection. Historical Revisionism / Holocaust Denial / Neofascism.

    Researchers Gordon Hall and Grace Hoag provided "extremist" literature to several library/archive collections:

    Brown University - Request information on the Hall-Hoag Collection of Extremist and Dissenting Literature - especially good collection on the John Birch Society. "The Hall-Hoag Collection includes post-World War II materials on racism, politics, and the civil rights movement in America, mostly ephemeral and controversial in nature....111,000 different items representing the publications of 3,884 different organizations."

    Brandeis University - "Hall-Hoag Archives on Extremism in the United States. The collection includes approximately 5,000 exemplars of right and left wing "extremist literature" pertaining to social, religious and political issues. The materials cover the period from 1960 through the 1980's and are arranged alphabetically by title under the name of the sponsoring organization. A Checklist of Materials in the Hall-Hoag Collection of Extremist Literature, is available in the Special Collections Department (Z7164 .L65 B79 1987)."

    University of Akron in Ohio - (being cataloged) Another set of documents from the Hall-Hoag Collection.

    Assorted Other Locations

    University of Michigan - Labadie Collection

    Michigan State University - Ku Klux Klan and some racist right serials.




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