Genetic Ancestry Testing among White Nationalists

Contributors:
  1. Joan Donovan

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Description: Using a data set drawn from the website Stormfront, this paper presents a qualitative analysis of online discussions of white nationalist individuals’ genetic ancestry test (GAT) results. Seeking genetic confirmation of personal identities and having a strong ideology of the genetic basis of race and the value of white “purity,” white nationalists using GATs are sometimes confronted with information they consider evidence of non-white or non-European ancestry. Despite their essentialist views of race, Stormfront posters use GAT information to police individuals’ membership far less commonly than working to develop a variety of scientific and anti-scientific responses enabling them to repair identities by rejecting or reinterpreting GAT results. Simultaneously, however, Stormfront posters use the particular relationships made visible by GATs to debate the collective boundaries and constitution of white nationalism. Bricoleurs with genetic knowledge, white nationalists use a “racial realist” interpretive framework that departs from canons of genetic science but cannot be dismissed simply as ignorant.

License: CC-By Attribution 4.0 International

Has supplemental materials for Genetic Ancestry Testing among White Nationalists on SocArXiv

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