The re-framing and recontextualisation of sexual violence cases as an online radicalisation tool by right-wing extremists

Lead Research Organisation: Cardiff University
Department Name: Sch of English Communication and Philos

Abstract

Right-wing extremism, in its many guises, is growing and 'expanding beyond national borders' (Caiani & Kröll 2015, p 331), particularly within the present political climate. While previous academic focus has been on right-wing rhetoric on race, little has examined how its anti-feminist agenda presents itself in relation to sexual offences against women. Recent campaigns to prevent rape on campuses worldwide, provide education on consent, and an increasing trend to look at 'hookup culture' from a feminist viewpoint have led to the Alternative-Right (Alt-Right) proclaiming that men are victims of 'rape paranoia'. Understanding how this extreme right-wing propaganda influences men's view of rape and sexual assault is crucial in order to develop counter-measures.

The proposed research will be based on empirical linguistic analyses of podcasts and vlogs on Alt-Right websites which discuss previous male convictions for rape and sexual assault. The analyses will examine portrayals of convicted rapists presented as being 'unjustly' imprisoned victims of feminist-driven rape paranoia. Such construals targeted towards young men will be investigated with reference to the radicalisation framework put forward by Weimann & Von Knop (2008). The listeners' comments on the websites will also be analysed to ascertain reaction to the discussions. The two main research questions to be addressed by the research are therefore:

1. How, linguistically, are rape and sexual assault cases recontextualised by promoters of right-wing extremism?
2. Which of the recontextualised features are the most salient for audience members who comment within the online forums?

Publications

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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ES/P00069X/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2027
1946603 Studentship ES/P00069X/1 01/10/2017 30/12/2020 Kathryn Suzannah Barber
 
Description I have not finished my research yet and so cannot give a final assessment of the findings or the impact. However, I have been able to disseminate information on some of the experiences I have had doing this research via conferences and by writing a chapter for an edited collection on taking risks in Applied Linguistics. Specifically, the book chapter looked at some of the risks and challenges of looking at extremist online discourses and discussed the ethical and personal difficulties the project has presented. Hopefully, this will help others in the field to overcome similar challenges in the future.
First Year Of Impact 2018
Sector Education
Impact Types Societal

 
Description 14th International Association of Forensic Linguistics (IAFL) Biennial Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I presented the paper: "Reframing Rape: Investigating identities and alternative rape culture in extremist discourses online" at RMIT, Melbourne, Australia. This was the main Forensic Linguistics conference being held during my PhD so it was vital that I could get a paper accepted. Giving the talk generated positive feedback, discussion, and provided a good opportunity for networking in my subfield of linguistics. It also helped me make decisions about where my research fits within this field and to bring me into contact with others who might be interested in writing a paper.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://iaflconference2019.com/
 
Description 2018 BAAL Annual Conference: Taking Risks in Applied Linguistics 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I presented the paper: "The risks and challenges of analysing multimodal discourse in extremist rhetoric online" at the annual BAAL conference. The presentation led to an invitation to submit a book chapter for an edited collection on taking risks in Applied Linguistics. It also helped me reassess my research aims and narrow the focus of my study.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://www.cvent.com/events/baal-2018-annual-meeting/event-summary-78e684777ce54042b0e7fd5e79f5dc7b....
 
Description FORGE Talk 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact I was invited to give a talk, based on my presentation at the 2019 Corpus Linguistics conference, at the Forensic Linguistics Research Group at Lancaster University. My presentation was called: "The Reframing of Rape in Extremist Online Discourses". It was widely publicised and generated an interesting discussion on current manifestations of fascism.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://wp.lancs.ac.uk/forge/2020/02/03/barber-the-reframing-of-rape-in-extremist-online-discourses/
 
Description International Corpus Linguistics 2019 Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I presented the paper: "'Shitlibs and soyboys': Identity construction overlap in racist and misogynistic discourses online" at Cardiff University. The conference specialised in methodological discussions on corpus linguistics and its applications. It helped me streamline my methodology as well as providing a good networking opportunity. After giving my talk, I was invited to give an hour-long version of it at Lancaster University for the FORGE group. I was also invited to write book chapters for two separate edited collections.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL http://www.cl2019.org/index.php/cl2019-app/
 
Description Religion and Rape Culture Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact I presented the paper: "'Rape is a liberal disease': An analysis of alternative rape culture perpetuated by far right extremists online". The presentation, for the Shiloh Project at Sheffield University, looked at rape culture in the far right and how it is influenced by those who identify as Christian fundamentalist.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://shiloh-project.group.shef.ac.uk/tag/religion-and-rape-culture-conference/
 
Description VOX-Pol Conference: Violent Extremism, Terrorism, and the Internet: Present and Future Trends 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact I presented the paper: "'Rape is a liberal disease': An analysis of alternative rape culture perpetuated by far-right extremists online" at the conference at the University of Amsterdam. The conference was organised by VOX-Pol, a European network of scholars and policy-makers interested in countering extremism.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.voxpol.eu/events/vox-pol-third-biennial-conference/
 
Description XI International Conference on Corpus-Linguistics-Corpus Approaches to Discourse Analysis 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact I presented the paper: "The reframing of rape in extremist online rhetoric: Using corpus linguistics to compare identity construction in narrative and non-narrative discourses" at the University of Valencia, Spain. The focus of the conference was methodological and the discussion after the presentation brought up lots of questions about how corpus linguistics can be used with the type of data I am working with.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://congresos.adeituv.es/cilc2019/ficha.en.html