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Abstract

Drawing from ethnographic and documentary data, this article examines the character of the social spaces that white power movement (WPM) activists create on the Internet and the linkages to their real world activism. Specifically, we explain how white power activists use cyberspace as a free space to create and sustain movement culture and coordinate collective action. The WPM's cyberpresence intersects with and enhances their real world activities by offering multiple opportunities for access and coordination. Virtual contact with the WPM community offers members social support, companionship, and a sense of belonging to a community of Aryan believers. We argue that real and virtual spaces are not completely separate spheres but rather closely inter-twined. Consequently, virtual spaces provide an opportunity to parallel and extend the type of interaction present in real world free spaces that are so critical to nurturing and sustaining white power movement culture. Cyberspace is being used to connect all sorts of people, yet the character of those connections is unclear. Some observers argue that cyberspace is a new place of assembly where real world social communities can be established, sustained, or renewed as virtual communities. In The Virtual Community (1993), Howard Rheingold argues the Intemet introduced a new form of community that can help bring people together on-line around shared values and interests, and create ties of support that extend their real world collective interaction. Sherry Turkle (1995:267), a pioneer in studies of identity and interaction on the Intemet, claims that the virtual realm offers "a dramatic Please direct correspondence to Pete Simi,. We want to thank editors Dobratz and Waldner and the anonymous JPMS reviewers for their helpful suggestions on earlier drafts of this article.
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... A. Dobratz & Shanks-Meile, 1997;Simi & Futrell, 2010). A strong youth presence, the loss of factory and industrial jobs to service-oriented positions, and the expansion of internet-based discussion forums gave a boost to white power movements in the 1990s (Corte & Edwards, 2008;Cotter, 1999;Simi & Futrell, 2006. ...
... While the groups may differ in structure, Skinhead organizations cultivate a shared identity. However, some Skinheads choose to hide their racialist associations (Simi & Futrell, 2006. Cooter (2006) designated this process as normalization, in which some Skinheads hide their affiliations to operate within traditional society, espousing their beliefs only in 'free spaces' (Simi & Futrell, 2010). ...
... Simi and Futrell (2010) describe free spaces as locations where individuals can share their beliefs without stigmatization. However, people who chose to conceal their affiliations are not inherently less violent or less committed to racialist ideologies (Simi & Futrell, 2006. ...
Book
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Some of the most significant threats to modern democratic states are extremist groups with amorphous and decentralized structures. These organizations have become more prominent among many ideological streams. However, there is limited theoretical development on how group structure, particularly the centralization of the group, affects the organization’s ideology, practices, and recruitment. Using four case studies, this work developed a theoretical framework and devised a methodological design using systematic snowball open-source sampling, and the identification and download of one hundred American extremist websites. This work found that centralization, on its extremes, may have an explanatory function on the cohesion and spread of ideology and organizational practices. Further, this work methodologically advanced the study of extreme websites through opensource systematic snowball searches and computer-aided textual analysis.
... Aside from the fundamental impact the internet has had on political communication and protest movements more generally (Bennett & Segerberg, 2013;Castells, 2015;Earl & Kimport, 2011), the prominence of digitally mediated communication has also rendered the far right post-digital. That is, the online and offline efforts by the far right are nowadays so closely intertwined that they cannot anymore be neatly separated (Thurston, 2019; see also Simi & Futrell, 2006). ...
Thesis
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Background: This thesis explores the far right online beyond the study of political parties and extremist far-right sites and content. Specifically, it focuses on the proliferation of far-right discourse among ‘ordinary’ internet users in mainstream digital settings. In doing so, it aims to bring the study of far-right discourse and the enabling roles of digital platforms and influential users into dialogue. It does so by analysing what is communicated and how; where it is communicated and therein the roles of different socio-technical features associated with various online settings; and finally, by whom, focusing on particularly influential users. Methods: The thesis uses material from four different datasets of digital, user-generated content, collected at different times through different methods. These datasets have been analysed using mixed methods approaches wherein interpretative methods, primarily in the form of critical discourse analysis (CDA), have been combined with various data processing techniques, descriptive statistics, visualisations, and computational data analysis methods. Results: The thesis provides a number of findings in relation to far-right discourse, digital platforms, and online influence, respectively. In doing so it builds on the findings of previous research, illustrates unexpected and contradictory results in relation to what was previously known, and makes a number of interesting new discoveries. Overall, it begins to unravel the complex interconnectedness of far-right discourse, platforms, and influential users, and illustrates that to understand the far-right’s efforts online it is imperative to take several dimensions into account simultaneously. Conclusion: The thesis makes several contributions. First, the thesis makes a conceptual contribution by focusing on the interconnectedness of far-right efforts online. Second, it makes an empirical contribution by exploring the multifaceted grassroots or ‘non-party’ dimensions of far-right mobilisation, Finally, the thesis makes a methodological contribution through its mix of methods which illustrates how different aspects of the far right, over varying time periods, diversely sized and shaped datasets, and user constellations, can be approached to reveal broader overarching patterns as well as intricate details.
... Hierdurch bilden sich "digitale Affektkulturen" (Döveling et al. 2018), emotional aufgeladene ‚virtual communities', die zahlreiche Eigenschaften ‚echter' offline-Gemeinschaften aufweisen, da sie identitätsstiftend wirken, ein Gefühl von Anerkennung und Zugehörigkeit vermitteln und durch gemeinsame Emotionen, Rituale und Symbole getragen sind. Überdies ist die Trennung zwischen online und offline in der "Cyberkultur" (Simi et al. 2006) der Gegenwart künstlich geworden und nicht mehr verbindlich für die Alltagswelt vieler vor allem jüngerer Bevölkerungsgruppen. Das Internet ist also höchst relevant für extremistische Radikalisierungen, ohne jedoch deren alleiniger Verursacher zu sein. Emotionen und insbesondere Schamnarrative sowie die Anrufung von Kränkungsgefühlen eine gewichtige Rolle spielen. ...
... Hierdurch bilden sich "digitale Affektkulturen" (Döveling et al. 2018), emotional aufgeladene ‚virtual communities', die zahlreiche Eigenschaften ‚echter' offline-Gemeinschaften aufweisen, da sie identitätsstiftend wirken, ein Gefühl von Anerkennung und Zugehörigkeit vermitteln und durch gemeinsame Emotionen, Rituale und Symbole getragen sind. Überdies ist die Trennung zwischen online und offline in der "Cyberkultur" (Simi et al. 2006) der Gegenwart künstlich geworden und nicht mehr verbindlich für die Alltagswelt vieler vor allem jüngerer Bevölkerungsgruppen. Das Internet ist also höchst relevant für extremistische Radikalisierungen, ohne jedoch deren alleiniger Verursacher zu sein. Emotionen und insbesondere Schamnarrative sowie die Anrufung von Kränkungsgefühlen eine gewichtige Rolle spielen. ...
Chapter
Die politische Gegenwart ist durch vielfältige Formen von Radikalisierung gekennzeichnet, die aufgrund ihrer Verknüpfung mit extremistischen Bestrebungen weithin als Gefahr für den demokratischen Rechtsstaat betrachtet werden. Rechte Mobilisierungen vollziehen sich mittlerweile zu einem großen Teil online und interaktiv. Hierbei werden auch gezielt Medienstrategien wie das „online-trolling“ (Davey/Ebner 2017) eingesetzt, bei dem Akteure versuchen, durch hochaktive und koordinierte Accounts den Eindruck von Mehrheitsmeinungen zu suggerieren (Kreißel et al. 2018: 15). Online-Mobilisierungsstrategien entfalten eine besondere Wirksamkeit, da die Kommunikation im Web 2.0 einen idealen Resonanzraum für emotionale Ansteckungs- und Aufschaukelungsprozesse darstellt (Brady et al. 2017). Hierdurch bilden sich „digitale Affektkulturen“ (Döveling et al. 2018), emotional aufgeladene ‚virtual communities‘, die zahlreiche Eigenschaften ‚echter‘ offline-Gemeinschaften aufweisen, da sie identitätsstiftend wirken, ein Gefühl von Anerkennung und Zugehörigkeit vermitteln und durch gemeinsame Emotionen, Rituale und Symbole getragen sind. In dem Beitrag untersuchen wir, wie in der rechtsextremistisch-nationalradikalen Online-Kommunikation Narrative und Symbole dafür verwendet werden, Emotionen wie Scham und Beschämung zu adressieren und politisch zu verwerten.
Article
This study provides a qualitative content analysis of 66 white power songs, uploaded on YouTube between 2013 and 2019, by male musicians from seven countries. Three overarching themes are found in the lyrics: hatred of perceived enemies, justified actions against these enemies, and the adoption of white nationalist values. However, the data also show that the details of these themes vary by time and location. The authors argue that online white power music introduces fluid and contextualized ideologies of white male nationalism rather than repeating a fixed and static ideology. The effect of widely disseminating the various white nationalist ideologies online, as embedded in this cultural product featuring men, will be to normalize a range of offline thoughts and behaviors that were once widely condemned.
Book
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Das Internet nimmt heutzutage einen wichtigen Stellenwert in der Lebenswelt der meisten Menschen ein, den auch politisch oder religiös motivierte Extremisten für sich zu nutzen wissen: Hier vernetzen sie sich untereinander, verbreiten ihre Hassbotschaften an ein großes, potenziell weltweites Publikum, rufen explizit zu Straftaten auf oder dokumentieren ihre eigenen Gewaltakte in Echtzeit. Die Gefahren, die vom Internet für die Radikalisierung vulnerabler Personen ausgehen, werden von Gesellschaft und Sicherheitsbehörden gegenwärtig entsprechend viel diskutiert – der Bedarf an gesichertem Wissen über die zugrundeliegenden Strukturen und Mechanismen ist groß. Die zehn in diesem Band zusammengestellten Beiträge wurden bewusst vielfältig ausgewählt, um sowohl eine Brücke zwischen unterschiedlichen wissenschaftlichen Disziplinen zu schlagen als auch zwischen Forschung und Praxis. Autoren aus Kriminologie, Islamwissenschaft, Informatik, Psychologie, Kommunikationswissenschaft, Soziologie und Rechtwissenschaft, aber auch aktiv in Sicherheitsbehörden tätige Polizeibeamte, stellen hierbei aktuelle Befunde zu (De-)Radikalisierungsfaktoren im Internet vor. Die thematischen Schwerpunkte liegen dabei insbesondere auf den inhaltlichen Strukturen extremistischer Internetangebote, auf der Frage, welcher Stellenwert diesen „Online-Faktoren“ bei der individuellen Radikalisierung von Tätern, aber auch bei der Prävention von politisch motivierter Gewalt zukommt, sowie auf innovativen methodischen Zugängen zur Radikalisierungsforschung.
Preprint
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The selective bibliography presented here focuses on interdisciplinary research developed over the past 6 years on three major themes for the prevention of radicalization, violent extremism and online hate speech. We wanted to gather in one bibliography at a time: • Research that describes and understands the processes of online radicalization, encompassing terrorist propaganda, extremist activism and online recruitment processes. • Research that promotes the construction of conceptual, technical, and methodological tools for the analysis and characterization of hate and extremist discourse. • Evaluative research on counter-discourse or counter-narrative deployment policies by seeking to take stock of evaluations, impact measures and innovations. • Technological research using big datas, datasphere analysis, development of effective action tools to fight online terrorism and online extremism. We are aware that this list is dated from 2015 to 2021. We strive to describe each result and provide a comprehensive literature review that selects the best research advances. We hope you find this bibliography useful in answering the three key social questions when addressing these areas: A) Are you sure that the digital world has become a space for radicalization and extremist recruitment? B) But how can we limit, on a regular basis, these dangers on the Internet? C) But is the fight possible? How to act on a daily basis.
Article
White extremism in the U.S. has not received much attention in the literature, despite scholars arguing that it represents the most sustained form of terrorism in the U.S. While much of the research on extremist movements has focused on the groups’ violent acts, there has been significantly less attention on the nonviolent activities, such as music. Following a social movement theoretical framework, we set out to understand the role that music plays in constructing the worldview and narrative of white extremists. Using lyrics from 337 white power songs from seven white power bands, we analyzed the linear and interconnected narrative that emerges in the music. What we found is a narrative interwoven throughout the music that presents a clear picture of white societies under threat from immigration, the Jewish-controlled media, and liberalism, with clear directives for extreme violence and vigilante justice. Based on this picture, we discuss the potential counterextremism implications and provide several avenues for future research.
Chapter
Technological innovations in computer-mediated communication have helped hate groups to transform themselves into virtual communities. Likeminded individuals are now able to unite from all parts of the globe to promote hatred against visible minorities and other out-groups. Through their online interactions, a sense of place is often created. In this chapter, we explore the content and function of online hate communities. Since bigotry tends to be the cornerstone of virtual hate communities, we highlight the legal debate surrounding the regulation of Internet hate speech; in particular, we address the question: Does the First Amendment protect virtual community members who use the Internet to advocate hate? Next, using data collected from the largest hate website, Stormfront.org, we also investigate how Stormfront members utilize interactive media features to foster a sense of community. Finally, we direct our attention to the future of online hate communities by outlining the issues that need to be further investigated.