The discursive construction of ‘reopening’ Auschwitz on Facebook discussions.

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Far-right movements have the challenge of portraying themselves as reasonable about anti-Islamic rhetoric, whilst maintaining supporters. The findings are from a discursive analysis of comments left on the Facebook page of the English Defence League discussing the idea of ‘reopening’ Auschwitz for Muslims.
The extracts are from comments to a Facebook post by the English Defence League promoting a video about the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. The data encompasses part of a wider corpus of data collected from far-right Facebook pages between 2014-2015. Data was analysed using Critical Discursive Psychology, which argues that language itself should be studied both in use and as part of interaction.
There were three discursive strategies used by Facebook users when discussing reopening Auschwitz: 1) the construction of ‘sickness’, that is, to oppose or support Muslims is ‘sick’, 2) the construction of Muslims as ‘the New Nazis’, 3) Holocaust denial, in the form of denial over the scale of murders that took place, and presenting the argument that Jews ‘could have done more’.
Facebook users employed reasoning in discussions over reopening concentration camps and put a twist on what it means to “never forget”. I argue that extreme social media discourse is not just ‘trolling’, but ideas constructed with rationality and little challenging from other Facebook users. The research has implications such as combating the marginalization and ‘othering’ of Jews and Muslims, and how laws on hate speech can be more effectively enforced on social media.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventBritish Psychological Society Social Psychology Section Annual Conference 2018 - Keele Hall
Duration: 29 Aug 201829 Aug 2018


ConferenceBritish Psychological Society Social Psychology Section Annual Conference 2018


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