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“They are just a danger”: Racialized ideologies in Northern Italy and the Philippines

Sabina Perrino EMAIL logo and Rachelle Jereza


There has been much discussion of the proliferation of racialized narratives both offline and online and its role in the current electoral successes of far-right movements across the globe. We extend this conversation by analyzing narrative practices from two contexts where far-right parties and figures enjoy popular support: Italy and the Philippines. In both cases, we show how narratives that pivot on race constitute stancetaking practices that align with far-right agendas. In the Northern Italian case, racialized stances emerge in storytelling events, through which participants (co)construct extracomunitari, or ‘migrants from outside the European Union’, as “other” and “a danger” to the Italian nation. In the case of Filipino YouTube users, President Duterte’s supporters subvert racialized tropes through anti-imperial narratives in ways that attempt to delegitimize human rights criticisms of the drug war. We show how, in and through narrative practices, speech participants justify exclusionary and eliminationist politics in far-right contexts.

Corresponding author: Sabina Perrino, Binghamton University (SUNY), Binghamton, USA, E-mail:

Funding source: Binghamton University


This article is based on research conducted in Northern Italy by Sabina Perrino and in the Philippines and the United States by Rachelle Jereza. Sabina Perrino offers her deepest thanks to the many speakers in Northern Italy who agreed to be video- and audio-recorded for this project and who assisted her during her linguistic anthropological fieldwork. Perrino acknowledges support from the Department of Anthropology of the University Michigan for granting research funds for this research. Rachelle Jereza thanks Joshua Reno for mentorship and his feedback on the analysis of the Philippine data and Douglas Holmes for illuminating conversations on contemporary fascist movements. Jointly, we thank the Department of Anthropology of Binghamton University (SUNY) for its continuous support. We are the only ones responsible for any remaining mistakes and infelicities.

Appendix: Transcription conventions.

  • =

  • Latching

  • :::

  • Syllable lengthening

  • -

  • Syllable cut-off

  • (.)

  • Brief pause

  • [

  • Overlap

  • @

  • Burst of laughter

  • CAP

  • Loud volume

  • Bold

  • Highlighted portions in transcript

  • Underline

  • Emphasized speech


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Published Online: 2020-09-11
Published in Print: 2020-09-25

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