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Hate Speech and the Radical Right

Manuela Caiani (Scuola Normale Superiore, Florence)

3 march 2023, 10h30
Sala 1, CES | Alta (Coimbra)

Moderator: Cristiano Gianolla (CES)


Social media is considered a particularly conducive arena for hate speech, a form of communication often linked to the radical right. This presentation will provide an introduction on online communication by the radical right and the use of hate speeches in times of crisis (i.e. the Pandemic). Drawing on a content analysis of social media (more than 20.000 twitts analysed in the first year of the Pandemic) of the main important radical right actors in Italy and UK, and adopting a comparative perspective across two cases deeply hit by the Pandemic in the first years, we will show that the Covid-19 emergency has offered the radical right of both countries an opportunity to elaborate on and spread their hate speech online. RR leaders brought exclusion-oriented issues and frames to the (Covid-related) agenda, although in different ways; they emphasise different understanding of “Us” and “Them.” These findings have important implications for our understanding of the role of RR discourses in times of crisis and facets of the internal RR milieu.

This seminar is part of a series within the UNPOP project – UNpacking POPulism: Comparing the formation of emotion narratives and their effects on political behaviour, which aims to explore how narratives of emotion allow a deeper analysis of the way populist phenomena constitute and influence political behaviour.

Thus, the series of events developed throughout the project will address several issues involving the recent growth of populism, focusing on the role of emotions – both those considered negative such as anger and fear, and those considered positive such as hope and love – in political behaviour.

UNPOP is coordinated by Cristiano Gianolla and Lisete Mónico and is based at the Centre for Social Studies and by CINEICC – Center for Research in Neuropsychology and Cognitive and Behavioral Intervention of the University of Coimbra, and is funded by the Foundation for Science and Technology (PTDC/CPO-CPO/3850/2020).

Bio note

Manuela Caiani is Associate Professor in Political Science at the Scuola Normale Superiore, affiliated scholar at the Cosmos Center for Social Movement Studies (SNS) and associated faculty at the Institute for Advanced Studies (IHS) in Vienna. She received her national Italian Abilitazione for full professorship in Political Science; and in Political Sociology, in 2017. Her research focuses on Social Movements and Europeanization; Far Right Politics; Extremism online; Right Wing and Left Wing Populism; Movement-parties; Qualitative methods of social research. Since 2019 she is Convenor of the Standing Group ‘Political Participation and Social Movements’ of the Italian Association for Political Science (SISP) and since 2021 Co-director of the International Observatory on Social Cohesion and Inclusion-OCIS, She has directed and collaborated in various international projects (Horizon 2021; Volskwagen Stiftung; Europe for Citizens Program; FP4, FP5, FP7; PRIN; Marie Curie; Research Grant Jubilaumsfonds, ONB; Doctoral TRA Fellowship, START Center, 2009, University of Maryland). She published in, among others, the following journals: Social Movement Studies, EJPR, Mobilization, Acta Politica, West European Politics, Government and Opposition; European Union Politics, South European Society and Politics, RISP and for the following publishers: Oxford University press, Ashgate, Palgrave, Routledge.

Location: Sala 1, CES | Alta (Coimbra)