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Anti-refugee Mobilization in Social Media: The Case of Soldiers of Odin
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8866-0972
2018 (English)In: Social Media + Society, ISSN 2056-3051, E-ISSN 2056-3051, Vol. 4, no 1, p. 1-11Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In the wake of the international refugee crisis, racist attitudes are becoming more publicly evident across the European Union. Propelled by the attacks in Köln on New Year’s Eve 2015 and harsher public sentiments on immigration, vigilante gangs have emerged in various European cities. These gangs mobilize through social media networks and claim to protect citizens from alleged violent and sexual attacks by refugees. This article analyzes how racist actors use social media to mobilize and organize street politics targeting refugees/immigrants. The aim is to explore the relation between social media and anti-refugee mobilization in a time of perceived insecurity and forced migration. The study uses the vigilante network Soldiers of Odin as a specific case, looking at (1) how they communicate through social media, (2) how they are represented in the large “alternative” space of right-wing online sites, and (3) how they are represented in traditional mainstream news. Using a critical adaption of Cammaerts’ theory of “mediation opportunity structure,” the article explicates the (inverted) rationale of racist online networks. Using quantitative and qualitative content analysis, both social media content and traditional news media are examined. The results show that although racist actors succeed in utilizing many of the opportunities embedded in social media communication and protest logic, they are also subject to constraints, such as a lack of public support and negative framing in news media. The article calls for more research on the (critical) relationship between uncivil engagement and social media networks.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2018. Vol. 4, no 1, p. 1-11
Keywords [en]
refugee crisis, online mobilization, mediation opportunity structure, far-right, Facebook, anti-refugee
National Category
Media and Communications
Research subject
Media and Communication Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-65925DOI: 10.1177/2056305118764431ISI: 000436857200001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85044991832OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-65925DiVA, id: diva2:1191931
Projects
Interactive Racism in Swedish Online Media, Press and Politics: Discourses on Immigration and Refugees at Times of Crisis
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2016-05464Available from: 2018-03-21 Created: 2018-03-21 Last updated: 2019-06-11Bibliographically approved

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Ekman, Mattias

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