Archiving the Extreme: Ethical Challenges in Sharing, Researching and Teaching

Research output: Contribution to Book/ReportChapterpeer-review


Does extreme material present a challenge to archive ethics and practice? Based on the decade of work of the Searchlight Archive at the University of Northampton, this chapter explores the question of how those working around archives of extremism can ethically engage with the material and make use of it to further education in this key area. As well as considerations of practical measures in managing and welcoming users into the archive space, this chapter considers the obligations of the archivist to care for the wellbeing and safety of their staff and researchers. It also argues for the archive not as a passive repository, but instead that archives covering extremism can help engage students and the wider public with important parts of social and political history, and that these archives have an important role to play in decolonisation of teaching by offering sources from extreme groups and community groups that opposed them. Ultimately, it asks whether the risks of this material can be balanced and mitigated against to unlock the potential that exist within archives of extremism, and how researchers and practitioners can approach such content to achieve this.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Ethics of Researching the Far Right
Subtitle of host publicationCritical Approaches and Reflections
EditorsJoan Braune, Aurelien Mondon, Meghan Tinsley, Antonia Vaughan
PublisherManchester University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9781526173867
ISBN (Print)9781526173874
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2024

Publication series

NameRacism, Resistance and Social Change
PublisherManchester University Press


  • Archives
  • Ethics
  • Ethical concerns
  • ethical dilemma
  • Ethical principles
  • History
  • extremism
  • extreme right
  • Anti-fascism
  • Pedagogy
  • Active Blended Learning
  • oral histories
  • archive ethics
  • archive management
  • extreme material
  • decolonisation
  • Community engagement
  • archive studies
  • researcher welfare
  • radical collections


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