“You sick, twisted messes”: The use of argument and reasoning in Islamophobic and anti-Semitic discussions on Facebook

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Abstract

This research used critical discursive psychology to analyse anti-Semitic and Islamophobic discourse on the English Defence League’s Facebook page. The discussion by Facebook users began about ‘reopening’ concentration camps, in which to incarcerate Muslims. Facebook users also expressed anti-Semitic discourse such as Holocaust denial, and the idea that Jews ‘could have done more’. The analysis focuses on the reasoning used when expressing this extreme idea, and how this was contested by other Facebook users, through the use of three strategies: 1) the construction of ‘sickness’, 2) Muslims as ‘the new Nazis’, 3) devictimizing Jews as victims. This research shows how the EDL used positive aligning with Jews as means to present Muslims as problematic, and how such alignment resulted in the marginalisation of both Jews and Muslims. Findings are considered in terms of how critical discursive psychology can uncover the function of extreme discourse on social media, and the potential implications of hate speech online.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDiscourse and Society
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Feb 2020

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Cite this

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title = "“You sick, twisted messes”: The use of argument and reasoning in Islamophobic and anti-Semitic discussions on Facebook",
abstract = "This research used critical discursive psychology to analyse anti-Semitic and Islamophobic discourse on the English Defence League’s Facebook page. The discussion by Facebook users began about ‘reopening’ concentration camps, in which to incarcerate Muslims. Facebook users also expressed anti-Semitic discourse such as Holocaust denial, and the idea that Jews ‘could have done more’. The analysis focuses on the reasoning used when expressing this extreme idea, and how this was contested by other Facebook users, through the use of three strategies: 1) the construction of ‘sickness’, 2) Muslims as ‘the new Nazis’, 3) devictimizing Jews as victims. This research shows how the EDL used positive aligning with Jews as means to present Muslims as problematic, and how such alignment resulted in the marginalisation of both Jews and Muslims. Findings are considered in terms of how critical discursive psychology can uncover the function of extreme discourse on social media, and the potential implications of hate speech online.",
author = "Shani Burke and Parisa Diba and Georgios Antonopoulos",
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AB - This research used critical discursive psychology to analyse anti-Semitic and Islamophobic discourse on the English Defence League’s Facebook page. The discussion by Facebook users began about ‘reopening’ concentration camps, in which to incarcerate Muslims. Facebook users also expressed anti-Semitic discourse such as Holocaust denial, and the idea that Jews ‘could have done more’. The analysis focuses on the reasoning used when expressing this extreme idea, and how this was contested by other Facebook users, through the use of three strategies: 1) the construction of ‘sickness’, 2) Muslims as ‘the new Nazis’, 3) devictimizing Jews as victims. This research shows how the EDL used positive aligning with Jews as means to present Muslims as problematic, and how such alignment resulted in the marginalisation of both Jews and Muslims. Findings are considered in terms of how critical discursive psychology can uncover the function of extreme discourse on social media, and the potential implications of hate speech online.

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