A Discourse Analysis Examining the Influence of Unidentifiability Online Upon the Construction of Prejudicial Discourse Towards Muslims and the Islamic Faith.
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(2017) A Discourse Analysis Examining the Influence of Unidentifiability Online Upon the Construction of Prejudicial Discourse Towards Muslims and the Islamic Faith., no. 44.
This research examined whether a differing degree of unidentifiability online influences the construction of prejudicial discourse towards Muslims and the Islamic faith. Discourse Analysis (DA) was used to examine comments posted by supporters of the English Defence League (EDL; a group which opposes Islam) on Facebook and YouTube. Facebook is a semi-public domain (Cover, 2014), whereas speakers on YouTube used pseudonyms and did not have any personal information available to view. This research found that EDL supporters use language of extreme hatred towards Muslims. EDL supporters orient away from being heard as racist, though they accept that their views are prejudicial. However, the speakers on Facebook attempt to justify their prejudicial views as being caused by the behaviour of Muslims. Conversely, speakers on YouTube present increasingly extreme discourse that they do not attempt to justify. The increase in online unidentifiability afforded to YouTube users allows speakers to present unguarded hate talk which in turn promotes physical violence towards Muslims. This study has highlighted the importance of context upon Islamophobic constructions online from supporters of the EDL, and shown that a heightened sense of online unidentifiability can increase language which promotes violence offline.