ABSTRACT

Chapter 5 examines the formation of a collective identity within CPI – understood as the sense of common purpose and shared commitment within collective action – using evidence gathered through participant observation and face-to-face interviews, and through the qualitative content analysis of written material. This helps to disentangle the symbols, rituals and narratives through which activists attribute meaning to collective action, and thus understand, negotiate and inform themselves as part of the community. Specifically, the chapter looks at four crucial vectors of identity formation: imagery (5.1); style (5.2); music (5.3); and violence (5.4). The chapter argues that commitment to CPI results from shared imagery and practices, which trigger a network of relationships of trust among activists. Collective identity in CPI is thus not only explained by the adherence to a set of classic extreme-right symbols and rituals but by a more complex hybrid combination of extreme and coded references, mediated by different political cultures. The chapter concludes by arguing that this mix of extreme right, pop-culture and left-progressive references supports the engagement of individuals in CPI, by consolidating the group’s internal identity and by ensuring its public recognizability.