chapter  5
Reporting the “good deeds” of far-right activists 1
WithDaniel Bizeul
Pages 15

Even the most criminal, nationalist or racist individuals have a positive side just like anyone else, according to usual criteria. Occasionally, some of them may even act in an exemplary manner. But the question remains: how to report their “good deeds” without, at the same time, giving them credit for their behavior and creating propaganda for their organization? When considered separately, or used to counter negative views, “good deeds” means: these people are not all bad. But this kind of perspective should not be a problem of researchers as such. The only consistent way to present good deeds is to set them within the narrative and argumentative framework of the investigation report. Any situation or information has to be subordinated to the report, because it is from this that they gain meaning and scope. In this way, ethical considerations are subsumed under epistemological requirements. This point of view is supported and exemplified by an immersive and overt investigation conducted on the French National Front from mid-1996 to mid-1999, mainly in the Paris area, which resulted in an increased awareness of the pitfalls linked to putting the main focus on moral principles.