IN PART 3, THE CONTRIBUTIONS FOCUS ON COMPLEX political contestations in local political contexts and how organized structures and disorganized networks have fueled extreme speech with divergent consequences for established power and emerging dissenting groups. Implicit in all the contributions is the tension between moral values and legal restrictions, which is also part of a global trend in the mediation of populism. Discourses of moral rage and moral claims often go beyond current constitutional law and international conventions, but they draw attention on social media, thereby facilitating attempts to appeal for support.
In chapter 12, Juergen Schaflechner focuses on Pakistan and stories of individual victims of blasphemy accusations. The author explains that accusations of blasphemy are very serious (especially for the accused), and content posted in another person’s name has led to angry mobs killing the accused. Digital communication has exacerbated the force and effect of blasphemy accusations. He suggests that protests and other emotional responses to alleged acts of blasphemy might be understood as performative and “citational”—inasmuch as these responses rely on a framework of previous emotional archives.
In chapter 13, Jonas Kaiser turns to far-right groups in Europe, especially those active in Germany, and observes that social media platforms shorten the path between fringe and center, as the “alternative media and conspiracy theory” community serves as a bridge between distinct communities within the far right. He also shows the role assigned to physical spaces in shaping online expression and participation. By comparing maps of far-right Facebook pages with the maps depicting arson attacks on refugee shelters, the author reveals the connections between online hateful expressions and hate crimes that take place off-line.
Indah Pratidina’s chapter 14 draws attention to Indonesia. She observes that greater visibility on social media creates greater scrutiny and policing of women’s bodies, behaviors, and status, as can be seen from user responses to prominent female political figures. Examining the presidential elections of 2019 in Indonesia as a critical media event, the author shows how social media platforms have become a key conduit for polarizing extreme speech often drawing reference to gendered discourses around “motherhood.”
Erkan Saka’s concluding chapter turns the focus to Turkey, with interviews and a study of Twitter trolls, including paid political troll armies. Nonconformists are attacked by trolls, including the nonconforming practices of the airing of old Western movies, unisex restrooms, a woman ceasing to wear a headscarf, antirefugee sentiment (the Turkish government is pro-Syrian refugee), campaigns of political opponents, and other debates. The Turkish online trolls bet on and profit from the ambiguity of hate speech versus acceptable speech.
Revealing the connections between online networks and physical spaces, these chapters illustrate new geographies, material arrangements, and new kinds of digital visibility that multiply the force of extreme speech within local and national political fields.