Understanding the rise to prominence of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party in Greece formed the core of doctoral research undertaken by former PhD candidate Georgios Samaras at King’s.
Having witnessed the rapid growth of the party in Greece as a student, Georgios was motivated to understand how it had communicated its ideas both online and offline and how that was linked to its electoral success in the middle of the last decade.
Georgios said: “My research adopted a qualitative approach – for the first part, it conducted content analysis of social media material taken from YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, and visually analysed it to export themes related to extremism, nationalism and populism. This resulted in a dataset of text, video and photo content.
“For the second part of my research, I completed semi-structured interviews with 35 participants, who were former voters of Golden Dawn.”
Georgios’s PhD thesis built on the body of work examining the links between social media and the far right and saw him infiltrate a branch of the Golden Dawn based in Piraeus, Athens, in an effort to interview former members about their voting preferences and experiences.
He said: “I became the first researcher to interview Golden Dawn’s voters in the scholarly literature. My methodology introduced me to aspects of voting-behaviour of the far-right and external factors that boosted support for Golden Dawn, such as socioeconomic deprivation and exposure to migration.”
Georgios submitted his thesis earlier this year and, following a rigorous examination from a panel of academics (known as a viva voce), received the news recently that he had successfully passed.
He said: “I was relieved and happy to have passed and I’m ready to continue my academic career. I’d like specially to thank my two supervisors, Dr Nagore Calvo and Dr Russell Foster, who have been my guardian angels. I will miss our meetings and their commitment to my research. The support I received from them for three consecutive years was incredible.”
Georgios will continue to lecture and teach at King’s and is also working on completing his monograph.