TAKING THE WORLD BY SURPRISE, “NATIONALIST” BUDDHIST MONKS in Myanmar turned into unapologetic perpetrators of violence against the Rohingya Muslim community, as they inflated their influence beyond the monasteries, amassing massive followings on social media. In Germany, street mobilizations of the far-right group Pegida gained strength through internet organizing and newfound confidence to publicly revive some of the nastiest expressions of the Nazi era, including accusations around “Lügenpresse” (the lying press). In Denmark, racialized speech against Muslims, immigrants, and left progressive groups is a provocative device for creating social cohesion among neonationalists. Trump’s Twitter exploits are legendary, as are Brexiters’ online spoils. In South Africa, social media and messaging apps have become tools to sustain, motivate, and organize xenophobic violence, mobilizing mobs against African migrants accused of selling “fake food” in their “spaza shops.” In India, right-wing Hindu nationalist groups have successfully engaged online environments to seize political power, raising a troop of “internet Hindus” ready with abusive commentaries and insinuating derision of “pseudoliberals.”
As these examples testify, the expansion of internet-enabled media around the world at the turn of the millennium saw the troubling rise of aggressive and hateful speech online. Right-wing nationalist and populist waves sought to reshape political cultures with a new lexicon of exclusionary discourse. In North America and Europe, the rise of the “far-right” and “neonationalist” movements triggered and relied on online belligerence of racialized joking, intimidation, and “fact-filled” untruths. In countries like Myanmar, India, Sri Lanka, Kenya, and South Africa, major social media tools such as Facebook and WhatsApp not only offered easy platforms to revive vitriol against religious minorities and ethnic “others” but also led to a “subterranean” flow of rumor and fear mongering that injected new velocity into lynching and targeted physical violence. Digital expressions pushed back liberal modulations of “civility,” drawing strength from locally approved cultural idioms, globally shared formats of humor, and historically sanctioned structures of animosity. While huge numbers of dispersed, unorganized, “ordinary” online users participated in online extreme speech practices, regimes engaged in organized production of disinformation by using the very infrastructure of globalization around flexible, precarious, and outsourced labor.
We might call these related developments of inflamed rhetoric and its mediatic conditions a “global conjuncture” of exclusionary politics. How did digitally enabled exclusionary politics come about in the wake of the liberal euphoria around internet-enabled participatory equity? How did such a conjuncture emerge when optimistic predictions about internet media as harbingers of democratic freedom and global civic consciousness had buoyed a mood of change and progress? How did online speech become implicated in this conjuncture?
These questions compel reexamination of some assumptions about online vitriol and speech acts more broadly. A key concern in this conceptual reworking is the influential paradigm of “hate speech” and more recent articulations around “political extremism.” Taking aim at these established traditions and political programs, we propose the framework of “extreme speech.” We advance a critical inquiry into “wounding words” and “post-truth” realities by refusing to see hate speech as a self-evident category or political extremism as a natural response to a current crisis. In offering a critique of these long-established debates, we diverge from the casual interchangeability of the terms hate speech and extreme speech and instead insist on the ethnographic sensibility that marks extreme speech as a distinct concept. In particular, we depart from the dominant legal-normative definitions of hate speech and the discourse of securitization around terrorism and political extremism. In these definitions, hate speech is approached primarily as a “discourse of pathology” based on the need to diagnose, preempt, and mitigate its negative effects. Extreme speech signals and surpasses the normative bias toward recognizing, isolating, and combating vitriolic online speech practices and stresses the importance of comprehension over classification. Consequently, we argue that the production, circulation, and consumption of online vitriol should be approached critically as cultural practice, social phenomenon, and technopolitical manifestation, in addition to a legal-normative concept.
By emphasizing cultural practice, we foreground situated speech cultures of online use in relation to broader cultural struggles over meanings of civility and information. By examining the social phenomenon, we recognize that extreme speech cocreates relations of belonging and unbelonging, and as such, embedded in a broader set of social practices cohering around internet media. By considering technopolitical manifestation, we highlight the flow of political and market power through technology and the materialities of the internet in shaping and expressing political action.
Across these lines of analysis, extreme speech emphasizes the particularity of contexts—ranging from microcontexts of online-platform cultures to macrohistorical formations of empire and regional social hierarchies—as a necessary corrective to the seeming universality of the normative basis of hate speech.
Politics of Hate Speech and the Ambivalence of “Extremeness”
The affirmation of extreme speech as an analytical framework, rather than a regulatory instrument, opens new paths for bringing politics back in the analysis of hateful speech practices. It also allows for more clearly recognizing the complex ways in which a concept like hate speech, with its moral underpinnings, has been used politically in different national and cultural contexts. In international jurisprudence (e.g., International Covenant on Civic and Political Rights), hate speech has been confined to “national, racial, or religious hatred.” The exclusion of politics—and thus, the recognition of the higher threshold allowed for the fierce competition of ideas—was meant to avoid the suppression of even radical conceptions of society. It was facilitated by the assumption that the horrors of the Second World War had created a shared enough moral ground from which to recognize the emergence of forms of discrimination that could lead to mass violence against groups that were unable to protect themselves.
Both past and contemporary uses (and abuses) of the concept of hate speech illustrate the many unintended consequences of that project. The pretense that an accusation of hate speech is not a political move but simply an attempt to protect society has not only allowed those in power to persecute their adversaries but also dented the legitimacy of the hate speech concept. As Robert Post poignantly recognized, “Hate speech regulation imagines itself as simply enforcing the given and natural norms of a decent society . . . but from a sociological or anthropological point of view we know that law is always actually enforcing the mores of the dominant group that controls the content of law” (2009, 130).
As a form of power, the discourse of hate speech is inextricably tied to the state and its political economies of violence. Historically, it emerged from projects of civility that coincided with (and partly constituted) the state’s monopolization of violence (Giddens 1987; Thirangama, Kelly, and Forment 2018).1 The moral claims of liberal thought have vested hate speech regulation with the responsibility of protecting substantive virtues such as sympathy and understanding (or at least in the procedural terms of decorum) that create the possibility of “a common good.” Important as they are, liberal understandings premised on abstract principles of equality conceal the uneven political agendas that have grown around the regulatory discourse of hate speech.
Colonial and postcolonial contexts demonstrate the historical antecedents of the problem. In South Asia, restrictions on speech and expression date back to colonial times, when a substantive legal corpus was built around what is now understood as hate speech. Speech regulations in India are rooted in the colonial state’s rationale of law and order and what it left behind in the postindependence period as the constitutional value of “ordered society” (Rajagopal 2001). Such regulations constituted the distinction between subject and citizen within colonies and a racialized order that hinged on the image of the “Oriental despot” as the “other” of European civilization (Said 1978). Similar examples could be found in apartheid South Africa and in the challenges that theorists of black consciousness have raised against norms of civility as a gloss for power. Steve Biko’s (1978) famous column, “I Write What I Like,” took aim precisely at the pretense of civility and benevolence of the apartheid regime toward those who accepted its domination.
The liberal moral principle of civility that partly informs the rationale of hate speech is “intimately tied up with class and race privilege” (Thirangama, Kelly, and Forment 2018, 155), which consolidated the colonial and postcolonial state. Furthermore, colonial histories have cemented the self-righteous schema of the liberal center and the extreme periphery, which is now manifest in diverse forms not only between (former) metropole and colony but also within the nation-states where similar structures of speech restriction based on moral self-understandings have taken root.
Under these conditions, the pressure to speak “polite” language has been an act of domination—a moral injunction linked to assertion of privilege.2 Civility is thus an “effect of political recognition and of a responsive structure of authority” (Mitchell 2018, 217). In other words, incivility—or “extremeness” of speech more broadly—cannot be apprehended without analyzing particular forms of recognition and responsiveness to demands that exist in societies. Local and diverse speech forms including rumors and half-truths in the bazaar, argues Nayanika Mathur, are akin to “subaltern speech” (2015, 104), which should be mined not for its truth value but for how it provides people with social imaginaries and a means to articulate political anxieties “that remain unspeakable or unheard” (Fassin 2011, 41; see also Guha 1982).
The “thick” concept of hate speech comes with an evaluative load aimed at immediate action.3 In this way, it raises the risk of glossing over historical trajectories, as well as the ambivalence toward extremeness within particular contexts of power. This issue is not merely conceptual but also, more gravely, political. Both historically and today, the ambivalence toward extreme speech is closed off when political actors under pressure to “do something about hate” invoke the label of “hate speech” (Pohjonen 2019), at times with brutal use of force targeting marginalized groups. Examples abound of regimes that have misused hate speech discourse to quash dissent or target minoritized groups. The politics of invoking blasphemy laws as hate speech and offence in Pakistan and Bangladesh is a case in point (Schaflechner 2019). As David Katiambo argues in chapter 3, “the polysemy of extreme speech is removed when incivility becomes known as hate speech, blocking us from ever knowing its alternative possibilities.”
In social interactions, hate speech is a “charge” and “normative challenge” that signals where one stands politically. In chapter 1, David Boromisza-Habashi (see also Boromisza-Habashi 2013) shows how the social function of interpreting hate speech subsumes its referential function—that is, its “function as a description of a category of observable communication phenomena.” As a normative challenge and position-taking, hate speech falls short of explaining how and why online actors engage in forms of speech that are disapproved of in other contexts of interaction.
Recognizing the limits of “hate speech” both as a regulatory value and as a concept for use in everyday interactions, the extreme-speech framework advocates for ethnographic sensibility and insists that the moral charge around vitriol and disinformation should come from lived concepts and situated contexts rather than frameworks imposed from outside. Such ethnographic sensibility requires a critical approach that is attentive to cultural variations in speech, including sanctioned forms of disrespect; political contexts in which “hate,” as an order value of regulation, is assigned to speech acts; and historical conditions that implicate extreme speech with particular forms of power—subversive in some contexts and repressive in others.
Criss-crossing Concerns, Extreme Speech Framework, and New Directions
This book is part of a long-term exploration and shared ambition to develop concepts and tools that allow deeper understanding of today’s conjuncture of exclusionary politics. Before developing this collection, each of the editors had distinctively experienced the limitations of hate speech as a concept and the need for an alternative framework that could more fully capture and critique vitriolic expressions. Peter Hervik repeatedly noted that appeals to report instances of online hateful speech concerned the tone of language and not the content and context of hateful claims. The normative, translocal focus on hatred was not useful for understanding the fuller ethnography behind the speech. The normative focus appeared much like appeals to tolerance, with its moral encouragements “to be nice” so that peacefulness could be reestablished.
Iginio Gagliardone recognized that most of the prevalent forms that had emerged in response to hate speech were geared toward identifying and neutralizing it. Frustration emerged from collaborations with often well-meaning organizations that sought to react to a perceived spike in online hate but eventually promoted a form of ventriloquism among groups with similar orientations. This approach was unable to make inroads into the spaces where online hate proliferates. In other cases, frustration originated from dissatisfaction with increasingly popular computational methods for the analysis of hate speech. These approaches have provided new insights into the magnitude and spread of wounding words but have contributed little to understanding the motivations behind them.
For Sahana Udupa, online vitriol was a lived reality and a vexing problem in ethnographic practice. Studying the online right in India entailed tense moments of meeting people with whom one did not necessarily agree. However, dismissing these actors in a polemical huff ran against the responsibility of serious critical inquiry and trust-based relationships as the epistemological cornerstone of ethnography—it amounted to evaluating actors before delving into their complex worlds. Ethnographic explorations of cantankerous exchanges in the Indian online sphere shaped the first ruminations around online extreme speech as a concept that could develop a critical vocabulary around online vitriol through lived practices and emic categories, that is, from the perspectives of users themselves (Udupa 2015b). This study also helped to emphasize how ethnographic attention to digital media practices and situated speech cultures should be inextricably linked to the analysis of grave colonial historical continuities within and beyond the national scenarios.
Our distinct trajectories converged in the two international workshops in Munich, Germany, in 2018 (the first with Matti Pohjonen), and we followed up on these exchanges in our subsequent meetings in Johannesburg, South Africa, and Copenhagen, Denmark. The special section on online extreme speech in the International Journal of Communication (Udupa and Pohjonen 2019) laid the ground for a comparative study of online vitriolic cultures, advancing our inquiry into extreme speech (Pohjonen and Udupa 2017) and raising critical questions about the relevance of extreme speech in broader debates on hate (Gagliardone 2019b) and patterns of racial formation (Hervik 2019). Our aim in these workshops and subsequent publications was to examine vitriolic exchange in different parts of the world and to account for particularities in discerning general trends.
Connecting public policy and theory, we discussed ways to further expand our inquiry. We were particularly keen on bringing the disciplinary perspectives of anthropology, communication studies, and critical cultural studies into close conversation in order to analyze vitriol as texts, media practices, and communicative structures. Together with the contributing authors, this volume represents our collective thinking through these events and discussions, as we struggled to take stock of the tumultuous times we inhabit. The resurgence of right-wing politics and violent speech in our “homelands” and “adopted lands” was a worrisome reality that confronted us as scholars and members of the world. Excited as we were about the extreme speech project, violent regimes provoked us to reimagine critical frameworks that are based on actual rather than abstract conditions of possibility. It compelled us to take a step back from heated debates on what to do about online hate speech and to examine, with all the nuance of ethnographic analysis, how and why this phenomenon has come about.
This collection reaffirms some common features that have emerged as part of the debate about the nature and usefulness of extreme speech, but it also breaks new ground. In particular, two key positions have been developed elsewhere (Udupa and Pohjonen 2019) and are important to return to here.
First, extreme speech foregrounds the radical situatedness of online speech acts in different cultural, social, and political milieus globally. It takes seriously the cultural variation of speech acts, the normative orders bundled around them, and the historical conditions that underpin them. This approach implies that there is no easy-to-define boundary between speech that is acceptable and speech that is not. The distinction is instead constantly reworked in public and political debates, and the boundaries are redrawn, used, and misused. Extreme speech analysis covers digital cultures that push the boundaries of legitimate speech along the twin axes of truth–falsity and civility–incivility, raising two critical questions for research: What are the processes that make hateful and aggressive language acceptable for its users and, indeed, make it appear normal and desirable? Conversely, how is the word hate assigned to speech acts online as a weapon of authority and control? In either case, there is no self-evident category of hate speech. Moving beyond the binary and normative divisions of acceptable and unacceptable speech forces us to pay attention to the everyday online practices that underlie contemporary digital cultures—that is, what people do with media in their everyday lived experiences and how the significance of their actions is mediated through discursive regimes across the world (Couldry 2010).
Second, extreme speech is inextricably linked to violence, but its implications are context specific. At a fundamental level, the concept builds on the premise that political action should be considered, among other things, as an aspect of situated speech acts and what Judith Butler (1997) considers the realm of linguistic performativity. Public ideals and their brutal decimation are morally laden and enacted through speech acts encompassing verbal and audiovisual expressions. Furthermore, the framework of extreme speech insists that the relations among vitriol, political hatred, and violent action must be ethnographically explicated. We draw on a strand of anthropological scholarlship studying political violence to advance this analysis (Verkaaik 2004). This scholarship suggests that collective aggression and transgressive behavior should not be seen as anomalies but rather as practices that are generative and constitutive of identity and political subjectivity. The generative capacity of extreme speech as a form of transgression from the mainstream norm signals deep ambiguity: extreme speech can be both progressive and destructive in relation to the situations in which it is implicated. Consequently, it helps to examine the specific contexts that instigate and shape online extreme speech as violence and its divergent and often unforeseen implications.
While reaffirming some distinctive characteristics of extreme speech and how they set this analysis apart from other concepts used in reference to online hate, this book expands aspects that have been touched on in previous debates through further research and reflection.
The first aspects of extreme speech that we develop in the book are digital materialities and technological situatedness (Suchman 1987; Law and Callon 1992). The call for better understanding of individuals and communities behind extreme speech practices and how they relate to specific cultural and political circumstances should not preclude analysis of how these practices rely on and interface with technology. Critically, although the variance of politics and culture is radically affirmed by a concept like extreme speech, technology should not be treated as a unitary canvas on which different practices emerge. Interrogations of what is special about online hate speech have become increasingly insistent, leading to the identification of features such as ease of access, anonymity, and instantaneousness as potentially distinctive of this form of communication (Brown 2018). Nevertheless, a list of affordances opened by new technological artifacts should not become a test against which to assess the presence or absence of a specific practice. If so, the skepticism toward universal definitions of hate speech as a form of expression would be erased when looking at its technological counterpart. Instead, recognizing the association of specific technological affordances with specific practices should be a starting point—a practical hunch—that suggests where and how to look.
The notion of “technopolitics” (Rodotà 1997; Hecht 1998; Gagliardone 2016; Treré and Carretero 2018) offers a conceptual and methodological framework for studying the emergence of technologically mediated practices by tracking shifts in technology in relation to actors, networks, and discourses that compose particular regimes. Technopolitics pays attention to technology’s longue durée, seeking to uncover trajectories that lead to a specific phenomenon rather than “waking up” to realities deemed new or abruptly revolutionary (e.g., “fake news”). It accounts for how the “same” technology can be captured by competing actors and discourses to profoundly affect the way it is used and the shape it takes (Gagliardone 2019a). Methodologically, it encourages the researcher to “plunge” into a technical artifact or assemblage (Callon 2009) to uncover the internal functions—and the relationships they establish with surrounding elements—as an entry point to understanding the social formation that led to their creation or use.
The invitation to take technological situatedness seriously inevitably exists in tension with the need to acknowledge and account for the planetary reach of specific constellations of technologies and power. Inasmuch as these constellations are contingent, fluid, contested, and emerging, they also gain durability and momentum from the physical, financial, and institutional structures that support technology. As Faye Ginsburg, Lila Abu-Lughod, and Brian Larkin clarify, “While anthropologists are always firmly grounded in the local . . . certain sweeping technological and institutional changes have had irreversible consequences over the past decades” (2002, 2). We suggest a research program that encourages a relatively simple—at least from a methodological standpoint—escape from the normative and significantly more complex engagement concurrently with the cultural, social, and technological aspects without predetermining the greater or lesser weight each component should be given a priori. This approach allows for analysis of technology and actors as they unfold on the ground.
The second aspect of extreme speech that we develop in the book is how the concept connects with perspectives of decoloniality. We build on decoloniality as an epistemological agenda. Decentering the Western epistemic core entails paying attention to the cultural specificity of meaning making and categories of practice. Admittedly, this book is just a step toward—not a thoroughgoing excavation of—local histories, ideas, and practices of civility, as well as debates around what constitutes extremeness, politeness, and offense in complex political situations. Some of these contestations are highlighted in the chapters on India, Pakistan, Kenya, and Indonesia. These chapters delve into intricate political scenarios with internal rivalries and politicization of religious and ethnic identities that expanded during colonial rule. Gesturing toward the “decolonial option” (Mignolo and Escobar 2010), this book emphasizes the need for developing detailed genealogies around extremeness and civility and how these concepts have emerged in series of encounters with colonial modernity and rule. In this sense, the decolonial option is not an exploration of “pure” local concepts of civility or extremeness (as ethnohistorical essence) but rather calls for critical attention to a longer history of racialized colonialism that undergirds specific genealogies of vitriolic cultures—a point we will revisit in the concluding section. One implication of decentering Western epistemologies and paying attention to longer historical colonial formations is that they overturn the schema of the liberal center of calm rationality and irrational, impassionate publics of the periphery. Such moralizing schemas have had devastating effects in relations between nations and among different populations within individual nations. In an ironic twist, this logic has come back to haunt the previous colonial centers with ongoing toxification of social media in the heart of liberal democracies themselves (Udupa and Pohjonen 2019). Although there is greater acknowledgment that the Global North is as affectively charged as what was deemed as the “emotional periphery” (the Global South), the binary schema of the sane center (the standard) versus the deviant margin continues to animate racial extreme speech. This perception is amply illustrated, for instance, in the discourses that frame immigrants as prone to passion, irrationality, and crime.
Decoloniality is an essential component informing our comparative approach. The research agenda is to juxtapose different cases of online extreme speech around the world and to identify connections and shared tropes. In this way, we challenge implicit or explicit framing of the Global South as an aberration that needs explanation or a “lift up” in the measure of the West. Equally, we avoid romanticizing the South as an alternative that can salvage the world. We propose comparison as a way to push for epistemic parity through which both concepts and troubling questions around patterns of exclusion are considered in relation to the connected histories between the Global South and the Global North. Comparison reveals enduring hierarchies that are best analyzed by drawing connections rather than maintaining separations.
The decolonial move of extreme speech has important methodological implications. Again, we see convergences between the established methodological perspectives of anthropology and the decolonial emphasis on documenting plurality of practices and contexts without subsuming them in totalizing claims (e.g., hate speech). Anthropological studies of media have long advocated for a perspective that is “broadly comparative, holistic in its approach to complexity, ethnographically empirical, aware of historical contingency and relativistic” (Peterson 2009, 339). Furthermore, a decolonial methodological move involves an ethical stance that is rare—and might even seem outrageous—for debates around hateful expression. A key intervention is to understand worldviews, epistemological particularities, and lived environments, guided by an ethnographic commitment to learn and to see the insider views as a “working morality” (Boromisza-Habashi 2013; Hervik 2019). This approach offers a way to hone critical perspective rather than endorse the views expressed by extreme speech actors or claim moral equivalence between different ideological positions.
Recognizing some forms of expression as extreme speech means suppressing the urge to catalog and judge and to accept (with Chantal Mouffe ) conflict as the site of democracy. Equally, a critical framework should account for broader structures of exploitative labor of vitriol that political regimes employ with market support. Attention to these structures of exploitation complicate easy narratives about online extreme speech actors as villainous perverts willingly breaching the norm (Ong and Cabanes 2018; Ong, chap. 2).
This recognition does not come without risks. Researchers adopting the lens of extreme speech may be accused of condoning practices that are considered abhorrent and potentially dangerous (Gagliardone 2019b). This potential criticism cannot be solved a priori. It is only the rigor and sensitivity of the researchers who accept the challenge of engaging in these types of inquiries and the balance achieved in each individual case that can offer an answer and practically illustrate the value of this approach.
Exclusionary Extreme Speech as a Global Conjuncture
In this introduction, we have so far discussed extreme speech as an ethnographically grounded concept that accounts for variation, meaning, and context and as a critical research framework that charts new analytical and methodological pathways. In particular, this discussion centers diverse geographies across the Global South and the North, upending frameworks that see regions beyond the transatlantic West as “conflicts” peripheral to the liberal metropole. Conceptually, this discussion has foregrounded the ambivalence toward extreme speech acts in terms of their political consequences. Vastly divergent experiences, struggles, and subjectivities surrounding extreme speech hold the potential of “backtalking” (Stewart 1990) while unleashing acts of repression with numbing violence where factors coalesce to accentuate dominant ideologies. These analytical advances draw attention to globally shared but locally translated digital media user cultures and to new geographies and material arrangements for vitriolic exchange.
Following these interventions, contributions in the first section, “Extreme Speech as a Critique,” illustrate the limits of the hate speech discourse (Boromisza-Habashi, chap. 1), and how practices of extreme speech talk back to prevailing power, if not always successfully. Viral YouTube videos of a Muslim political party in India as a practice of “extreme speech from below” (Kramer, chap. 4) and technological counterfeits as a form of incivility in Kenya (Katiambo, chap. 3) capture dislocations that occur when hegemonic boundaries are pushed through verbal or “technological” incivility. Backed with empirical evidence on a related yet different development, Jonathan Ong (chap. 2) advances the critique by complicating the depiction of extreme speech actors as indoctrinated ideologues or social misfits by revealing precarious labor arrangements that lie behind disinformation. These contributions show that online extreme speech is a culturally variant and politically fraught phenomenon.
Political indeterminacy of extreme speech should not however deflect our attention away from unfolding events and historical forces that have ramped up vitriol and disinformation in the past two decades. In documenting these developments, we conclude this introduction by thinking through the tenets of a theory of exclusionary digital extreme speech. This theory is based on the normative position that comes with the proposal that extreme speech might exhibit “reasonable hostility” (Tracy 2008) and creative uproar to challenge existing inequalities and injustices, as opposed to any kind of active attacks from positions of privilege.
The decades of the new millennium represent a tumultuous period in history when the political stunts of populist leaders and everyday content of millions of online users repowered small and spectacular spaces of exclusion. We propose that this might be seen as a global conjuncture—beginning in the 1990s and precipitating at the turn of the millennium—that allowed the powerful to reject civility, deride inclusion, and attack dignity. The global resurgence of right-wing movements and antiminority and antimigrant politics in this period reveals a particular political formation with an expression and medium that is predominantly if not exclusively digital. Why and how did the values of “promoting restraint and respect in the face of difference” (Thirangama, Kelly, and Forment 2018, 156) come under such spectacular attack? How was this attack not seen as an attack but as an authentic grievance and remedy, applauded by cheering supporters and spurred on by the brutal use of speech (and more)?
Some of the most eloquent explanations for the phenomenon have come from Euro-American scholarship and the moral panics caused by Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 US presidential election and the slide to illiberal democracies in Europe (Udupa 2020). Influential works that have diagnosed this phenomenon have some common threads. Mouffe suggests that a “stifling consensus at the center” (2005, 66) has led to the moralizing of the political—a key driver of right-wing populist upsurge. According to Wendy Brown, it is “the aggrieved, reactive creature fashioned by neoliberal reason” that is fueling “anti-democratic and anti-social authoritarian freedom” (2019, 75). She traces this phenomenon to the formation of neoliberal reason in the West and its indictment of the political and the social as obstacles to freedom and knowledge. She draws on Nietzsche’s ressentiment to define contemporary trolling “as grievous, resentful energies—just the opposite of self-overcoming, proud, world-making energies of the powerful” (69). Following Nietzsche, she understands this behavior as nihilistic pleasure. The defeating, envious energies of ressentiment are not only an affective outburst of aggrieved white masculine pride and suffering, she goes on to argue, but something that capital actively courts. Drawing on Herbert Marcuse (1964), Brown suggests that nonliberatory release of instinctual energies should be seen as “repressive desublimation” (2019, 72).
We build on this emphasis of pleasure’s acquiescence to capital and aggrieved power as an undercutting theme of right-wing movements globally. Where Brown’s explanation falls short is the emphasis she places on right-wing rancor as neoliberal subjectivity of nonfreedom and nihilism as an inevitable consequence of neoliberal reason. In this analysis, ressentiment as autovictimization and backbiting revenge is shaped by racial histories of the empire as well as the neoliberal turn in the economy—a real crisis that has driven large numbers of people out of jobs, welfare, and options for livelihood. Important as it is, this critique does not account for the variations wrought by uneven liberalization around the world. Some of the strongest right-wing votaries in India, for example, are beneficiaries of globalization. In China, online nationalism connects with cultural nationalism practiced by the state. In Chile, perpetrators of vituperative anti-immigrant speech are themselves marginalized within the nation-state. In Denmark, right-wing rancor is financed by mammoth donations of millionaires. Above all, affective intensities of ressentiment attach well to imaginary wounds—continuous braying about grievances that reaffirm privilege and entitlement rather than as a response to being victims of actual conditions of systemic economic inequalities. What, then, is the face of a global resurgence of exclusionary politics?
We argue that exclusionary politics targeting minoritized publics and domestic “liberal” rivals cannot be reduced to either the economic sphere or to the particular political economy of neoliberal reason in the transatlantic West. The turmoil, as Walsh and Mignolo (2018) convincingly argue, has erupted at different levels and along different axes of difference: “By the 1990s, decolonization’s failure in most nations had become clear; with state in the hands of minority elites, the patterns of colonial power continued both internally (i.e., internal colonialism) and with relation to global structures. . . . The turmoil is now at once domestic, transnational, interstate, and global” (6).
Right-wing nationalism, religious majoritarianism, neoliberal globalism, ethnicized conflicts, and twenty-first-century capitalist extractivism are broad ranging factors that have precipitated this turmoil. However, we suggest that a cross-cutting influence of digital media is key to this formation.4 Our argument follows recent studies showing that the global rise of right-wing movements and populist regimes has relied on digital disinformation campaigns and vitriolic attacks (Schroeder 2018; Hervik 2011; McGranahan 2017; Moffitt 2016; Udupa 2017). This formation ricocheting across different parts of the world is about not only a particular subjectivity (Brown 2019)—even less, a mere psychological disposition—but also, we suggest, a confluence of actors, affects, and affordances. We define this formation as a global conjuncture of exclusionary extreme speech.
The global conjuncture of exclusionary extreme speech gains force as much through the violence of racial and colonial histories as through economic transformation. Its force flows through social and technical domains. Digital media affordances shaped by data capitalism are thus not only a vehicle for right-wing ideologies—a discourse external to it—but also an important factor that enables and constitutes those ideologies. Similarly, “practice” is a crucial qualifier of the emphasis on social-technical factors. As opposed to Brown (2019), we argue that right-wing publics who spew hatred on online media are not malleable and manipulable masses but rather actors who bring their worldviews, meanings, affects, and tactics, buoyed by a sense of participatory autonomy that social media affordances proffer. All the while, these actors are influenced by the culturally translated affordances that work in the background to delimit participation through interfaces, design decisions, advertisement models, content policy, and community standards. This complex amalgam of data capital, user practice, and political power lies behind online vitriol and disinformation. Such expressions and vehicles of right-wing reaction and exclusionary politics have swept polities, from liberal democracies of Europe and North America to new authoritarian regimes such as those in Turkey and the Philippines.
In particular, the mainstreaming of extreme speech and practices by “alt-right” movements in the United States can be interpreted as a shift from West Coast liberal imagery and actors heralding the emancipatory power of “liberation technologies” to an environment in which the everyday practices of far-right activists quietly but steadily nurtured alternative discourses on how the same technologies can be put to use. Continuous experimentation and transgressions progressively allowed tactics (i.e., courses of action that are short term, lack power, and may be sanctioned by a higher order) to turn into strategies (which aim for hegemony, depend on and reproduce power, and create their own norms). Liberals tended to dominate discourses about digital technologies, often failing to create enduring instantiations for claims of inclusivity and empowerment or progressively sliding toward forms of doublespeak, asserting visions of an open and connected world while opaquely monetizing on the interactions occurring in that world. In the same time period, the alt-right was able to inhabit the same technologies, amassing an expanding body of supporters. Even though the dominant discourses about technology were not challenged directly, they were affected by the emergence of increasingly vast, visible, and vocal networks of actors and the webs of innovations they introduced, coupled with the concrete results they produced.
This transformation adds a new perspective to long-term debates about the relevance and repercussions of online practices in offline contexts. As Miller and Slater (2000) illustrated at the onset of anthropological enquiries of the internet, some forms of speech that emerged online (including extreme speech) tended to be considered as lacking importance or consequence. These forms for speech remained segregated in virtual spaces, without being taken up in offline communications. As the growing political significance of the alt-right illustrates, prolonged experience and experimentation with extreme speech may indeed have consequences that are very real, including contributing to the election of a populist president. Determining direct causation between a vitriolic message and physical violence remains a significant challenge for researchers; however, the connections between cultural practices that emerged online and their larger consequences for society have become clearer over time.
With an aspiringly large repertoire of cases, this collection offers a rich (enough) body of evidence to understand the contours of a global conjuncture and the extent to which digital technology is acting, in specific rather than generic ways, as the connective tissue making it possible. The global conjuncture of digitally enabled exclusionary politics is, first and foremost, about new styles and resources for communicating the unsayable—of chest-thumping braggadocio and a bare-knuckles approach to speech. Some scholars see this style as “populist”—a “low” rather than “high” style favoring self-presentation and language that is “raw” and crude (but warm and unrestrained) over refined and cultivated (but cool and reserved) (Ostiguy 2009). Not limited to populist leaders, colloquial styles of online exchange shape the vast voluntary work and bottom-up enthusiasm for exclusionary ideologies. In the case of the United States and online white nationalism, this style is borne out by new media cultures of “lulz”—“the raw, jaded fun of knowingly cultivated outrage” (Coleman 2014; Mazzarella 2018), or what Deem (2019, 3183) defines as “larger affective economies of transgression.” Angela Nagle (2017) attributes deliberate border crossing to online subcultural trends and traces the transition of online trolls and 4Chan from left-anarchic cultures to the alt-right movement.
Such affective intensities are not precognitive bursts that are channeled through digital media; they represent a mesh of media practices within situated speech cultures—the main focus of this book’s second section, “Colloquialization of Exclusion.” Hervik (2019) understands this as “ritualized opposition,” leading to divisive use of language and naturalization of racialized difference. Such recurrent ritualistic communicative patterns include the use of a distinct indignant tone, sarcasm, racialized reasoning, the use of “high fives,” and a general indifference to facts. Honing the focus further on media practice, Udupa (chap. 6) calls this phenomenon “fun as a metapractice of exclusionary extreme speech.” “Fun” is not frivolity of action but a serious political activity that consolidates communities of supporters for exclusionary ideologies. In digital environments, fun instigates collective pleasures of identity that can mitigate risk and culpability for right-wing movements. It deepens the common-sense familiarity of exclusionary messages, thereby enabling political protection accorded to them. Through “fun as a metapractice,” the logics of spreadable digital media infuse the performative effects of distance and deniability into the body politic of right-wing ideologies. Haynes (chap. 11) and Mack (chap. 9) see similar effects in the “formulaic language” of internet memes. These effects allow for the expression of ideas that may not be voiced under other circumstances. The genre of text and its “digitality,” as Haynes argues, contribute to understanding of what discourse is acceptable or unacceptable. McGranahan (chap. 7) incisively excavates the Twitter feed of Trump as “an archive of lies” and shows the intersections of digital platform affordances with the cultural logic of organization and the concepts at play in the move from words to action. Trump’s lies, she argues, are a form of extreme speech that generates not only political outrage but also “affiliative truths” that lead to specific forms of social community and action. Tuters and Hagen (chap. 5) locate this extreme speech within the situated speech cultures of 4Chan and define it as “memetic antagonism” in contemporary anonymous imageboard culture. Similarly, “muhei stickers” (de Seta, chap. 10) in China that circulate on online messaging apps target Muslim communities by reinforcing slanderous stereotypes through visual ethnic humor. We propose that a theory of global conjuncture of digital extreme speech foregrounds these processes of banalization of exclusion through the metapractice of fun, formulaic language, humor, and coded exchange within internet speech cultures. These practices provide the new enabling ground for right-wing movements and exclusionary politics to stabilize and complement conventional strategies of “serious” appeal and dissemination. Aside from community-building functions, these media practices enable “the rule of presupposition accommodation” (Langton 2018)—when bystanders become complicit in hate attacks—through the interlocking effects of fun and fear.
A related corollary is the way in which physical localities are evoked in intensely local right-wing mobilizations organized through networked features of digital social media. Attacks against refugee shelters in Germany, as Kaiser discusses in chapter 13, are coordinated on localized anti–refugee shelter pages on Facebook.
Beyond the effects of banalization and localized segues to offline action, the global conjuncture of digital extreme speech is characterized by complex contestations in local political contexts. This aspect is the key focus of the book’s third section, “Organization and Disorganization.” In some scenarios, the internet has provided new evidentiary grounds and networked resources to attack minorities and dissenting sectarian groups. Set in the context of “internal colonization” (Pandey 2013), in which minority religious groups are denied full citizenship or claims to history, internet organization has augmented the means of and grounds for majoritarian aggression. Schaflechner’s analysis in chapter 12 of the chilling effects of the new laws enacted against online acts of blasphemy and Pratidina’s study in chapter 14 of the partisan politics around “womanhood” reveal how internet channels have enabled religious actors and political groups to fabricate incidents of violation of religious laws and ethical norms and raise swarming armies against minorities. Encouraging a heckler’s veto, these attacks have intensified brutalities of the law and vigilante justice. The illocutionary force of extreme speech—working with and through power structures—is multiplied not only because of new forms of visibility that digital media have provided for majoritized groups but also digital traces, evidencing, and resource sharing that solidify memory and community feelings in polymedia environments (Saka, chap. 15; see also, Deem 2019, Udupa 2015a).
Contributions in this collection demonstrate that media practices cohering around the global conjuncture of exclusionary extreme speech are powered by digital affordances of archiving, tracing, providing evidence and formats of memes and incentives for joking. Although these affordances cannot be isolated as technological entities, they constitute the condition of possibility for any digital mediation (see Manovich 2001). The resonance of digital features on a global scale is best seen as a shared set of practices enabled by the transnational circulation of tropes, formats, and discursive resources, rather than in terms of technological determinism or cultural imperialism—both models now amply challenged by critics of global culture.
Taken out of the larger context of political economy and historical delineations of privilege, media practices and affordances appear to be mere tactical resources for the global conjuncture of exclusionary extreme speech. They might mislead us into believing new sociotechnological formations as politically fungible in unpredictable ways. Moreover, they may encourage an erroneous diagnosis that the current precipitation is an abrupt deviation from established traditions of democracy. This collection of essays traces the historical lineages of the crisis, shaped by far-reaching consequences of the modern/colonial matrix of power (Walsh and Mignolo 2018). As we discussed in the first section of this introduction, histories of colonialism reveal that extremeness is racially marked—in the twin, and somewhat paradoxical sense, of moral injunctions against it and its explicit content targeting racialized groups. To follow De Genova, if colonial histories are not taken into account, right-wing rancor appears as “nothing more than populist reaction formations, provoked by the unseemly presence of the migrants themselves” (2010, 413). Brown’s (2019) analysis has sharply captured the sense of dethronement that arises out of the longue durée of the empire. The targets of exclusionary extreme speech come marked by racialized prejudice, religious histories, and injustices of the past (Chakrabarty 2000). The nineteenth-century biological racism “where differences were fixed immutably in hierarchically organized bodies” (Thirangama, Kelly, and Forment 2018) is symptomatic of the enduring injustices. This perspective explains the seemingly surprising support of millionaires who throw their might and money into right-wing movements in countries like Denmark and the United States. They are not members of the disadvantaged white proletariat who have fallen on the wrong side of neoliberal economic transitions and immigration policies.
Structures of coercion, irreducible as they are to the economic sphere, are nonetheless enmeshed in complex shifts in political economy. The global conjuncture of digital extreme speech is, in significant ways, a reenactment of the logics of capitalist accumulation, now accelerated in terms of scale and organization through processes of digitalization. By foregrounding the digital labor behind disinformation, Ong (chap. 2) highlights this aspect of the modern-colonial matrix of power. Although vast numbers of dispersed, unorganized, “ordinary” online users are participating in exclusionary online extreme speech, regimes have also engaged organized production of disinformation, making use of the infrastructure of globalization—of flexible and outsourced labor—that extreme speech actors in the West deplore. As Ong elaborates further in chapter 2, “The chief architects of networked disinformation are themselves architects of precarious labor arrangements in the creative industries that make workers vulnerable to slipping into the digital underground.” These developments are situated in broader processes of datafication that drive contemporary digital capitalism, which “should be understood in relation to, and measured against . . . the historical processes of dispossession, enslavement, appropriation and extraction . . . central to the emergence of the modern world” (Milan and Trere 2019, 324).
Finally, the global conjuncture of digital extreme speech is a result of interlocking systems of coercion and power. Closer attention to intersectionality and the matrix of domination brings to bear the tangle of race, class, gender, religion, and ethnicity that has precipitated the current conjuncture. Milan and Trere (2019) rightly argue that capitalism, white supremacy, and heteropatriarchy are interlocking systems.
Intersectionality also invites attention to structures of power that preexisted or remained quite independent of colonial occupation. Exclusionary extreme speech in India, Indonesia, Kenya, and Pakistan—explored in this collection—is influenced by deeply intermeshed structures of coercion that cannot be fully explained by histories of colonial encounter. As Thirangama, Kelly, and Forment argue, “There are multiple genealogies of distinction and prestige that underpin regional hierarchical structures, and which often come to mingle with colonial projects but are not invented by them” (2018, 165). The specificities of national and regional political contexts are highlighted in Saka’s (chap. 15) extensive study of troll networks that support President Erdoğan in Turkey. Tactics include swarming, verbal abuse, rhetorical innovation, and cross-platform coordination, but the contexts that fuel these practices are equally complex. Describing the phenomenon as “trollification of ordinary users,” Saka shows how intragroup factional conflicts have surfaced, even within “AKTrolls.” It reveals intricate political rivalries that inform extreme speech practices on the ground.
The global conjuncture of exclusionary extreme speech is amplified by the uneven course that liberal-progressive projects have taken globally. In the West, analysis of this “crisis” points to the “rent-restoration project” of Trump and Tea Party supporters that has emerged as a “response to the liberal rent-destruction project that sought to overcome structural disadvantages based on race, gender and nativity” (Jackson and Grusky, cited in Brubaker 2017, 372). Others have argued that the progressive left project has been weakened by “hypermoralization” of public discourse that raises moral panics around the slightest of “mistakes” in speech and by the erosion of the core moral order of class solidarity. In contrast, the right is not apologetic about either factual errors or political incorrectness. At the same time, the right has solidified xenophobic moral order of otherness through rage, fun, and rancor. Left progressive projects in other national and regional contexts have hit similar blocks but for vastly different historical reasons. Left liberal projects in India, for instance, are crippled by vanguard elitism, on one hand, and the imaginary flattening of neoliberal aspiration, on the other. Documenting the failures of progressive movements in different scenarios is beyond the scope of this introduction. Suffice it to state here that the global conjuncture of exclusionary politics is as much about the failure of progressive movements as it is about right-wing extreme speech backed with the historical weight of power and coercion. By the same token, by calling this influence a conjuncture rather than a regime, we signal spaces for radical subversions and deviations that can arise through sustained struggles to regain the optimism around the internet’s emancipatory possibilities, as exemplified by globally coordinated social justice movements of #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter (Bonilla and Rosa 2015).
This book reaffirms the emphasis articulated in our long-term project—that the conjuncture of exclusionary politics that gained momentum at the turn of the millennium cannot be grasped with the “disembodied and disengaged abstractions” (Mignolo and Walsh 2018, 3) often seen around the use of hate speech. Our critique has emerged from keen eyes on the ground from various vantage points—from lived concepts, meanings, and situated cultures of online use to broader structures of precarious labor, religious histories, and racial formations of colonial injustices. By insidiously folding into the new normal of everyday speech and political action, extreme speech has been immensely productive of identity—of assertations, affects, and affinities—that tests the limits of civility while showing, on another axis, the limits of communities. This grounded understanding of online extreme speech is a critical step toward unpacking the troubling effects of digitally enabled exclusionary politics. A political rather than moralizing perspective adopted by extreme speech might also inspire us to imagine concepts, worldviews, and knowledge around what Mignolo and Walsh poignantly define as reexistence: “the redefining and re-signifying of life in conditions of dignity” (2018, 3). What such a reimagination might look like in internet speech is still a moot question.
1. By the same token, achieving peace has also proven to be hard without the support of state or similar structures of power (Thirangama, Kelly, and Forment 2018, 163).
2. Civility is also part of “self-making and community making practices in plural worlds” (Thirangama, Kelly, and Forment 2018, 168).
3. We refer to the distinction that Brubaker and Cooper (2000) draw between “thick” (heavily congested terms) and “thin” concepts (less congested terms).
4. This is not to suggest that offline activities or those unrelated to speech do not matter. In his ethnography of a “right-wing town” in France, Damien Stankiewicz (2019) reveals that “much less sensationalist discourse–indeed . . . non-discursive place-making is effective in disseminating far-right political ideologies.” Far-right politician Rasmus Paludan in Denmark came to fame using street-level tactics, including demonstrations in front of schools.
Biko, Steve. 1978. I Write What I Like. Johannesburg: Picador Africa.
Bonilla, Yarimar, and Jonathan Rosa. 2015. “#Ferguson: Digital Protest, Hashtag Ethnography and the Racial Politics of Social Media in the United States.” American Ethnologist 42(1): 4–17.
Boromisza-Habashi, David. 2013. Speaking Hatefully: Culture, Communication, and Political Action in Hungary. University Park: Pennsylvania State University.
Brown, Alexander. 2018. “What Is So Special about Online (as Compared to Offline) Hate Speech?” Ethnicities 18 (3): 297–326.
Brown, Wendy. 2019. “Neoliberalism’s Frankenstein: Authoritarian Freedom in Twenty-First Century ‘Democracies.’” Critical Times 1 (1): 60–79.
Brubaker, Rogers. 2017. “Why Populism?” Theory Society 46:357–385.
Brubaker, Rogers, and Frederick Cooper. 2000. “Beyond ‘Identity.’” Theory and Society 29 (1): 1–47.
Butler, Judith. 1997. Excitable Speech: A Politics of the Performative. New York: Routledge.
Callon, Michel. 2009. “Foreword.” In The Radiance of France. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Chakrabarty, Dipesh. 2000. Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Coleman, Gabriella. 2014. Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous. London: Verso.
Couldry, Nick. 2010. “Theorizing Media as Practice.” In Theorizing Media and Practice, edited by Birgit Brauchler and John Postill, 35–54. Oxford: Berghahn Books.
Deem, Alexandra. 2019. “The Digital Traces of #whitegenocide and Alt-Right Affective Economies of Transgression.” International Journal of Communication 13:3183–3202.
De Genova, Nicholas. 2010. “Migration and Race in Europe: The Trans-Atlantic Metastases of a Post-colonial Cancer.” European Journal of Social Theory 13 (3): 405–419.
Fassin, Didier. 2011. “The Politics of Conspiracy Theories: On AIDS in South Africa and Few Other Global Plots.” Brown Journal of World Affairs 17 (2): 39–50.
Gagliardone, Iginio. 2016. The Politics of Technology in Africa. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
———. 2019a. China, Africa, and the Future of the Internet. London: Zed.
———. 2019b. “Defining Online Hate and Its ‘Public Lives’: What Is the Place for ‘Extreme Speech’?” International Journal of Communication 13:3068–3087.
Giddens, Anthony. 1987. The Nation State and Violence. Cambridge: Polity.
Ginsburg, Faye, Lila Abu-Lughod, and Brian Larkin. 2002. “Introduction.” In Media Worlds: Anthropology on New Terrain, edited by Faye Ginsburg, Lila Abu-Lughod, and Brian Larkin, 1–36. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Guha, Ranajit. 1982. “On Some Aspects of the Historiography of Colonial India.” In Subaltern Studies I: Writings on South Asian History and Society, edited by Ranajit Guha, 1–8. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.
Haynes, Nell. 2019. “Writing on the Walls: Discourses on Bolivian Immigrants in Chilean Meme Humor.” International Journal of Communication 13:3122–3142.
Hecht, Gabrielle. 1998. The Radiance of France: Nuclear Power and National Identity after World War II. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Hervik, Peter. 2011. The Annoying Difference: The Emergence of Danish Neonatinalism, Neoracism and Populism in the Post-1989 World. New York: Berghahn Books.
———. 2019. “Ritualized Opposition in Danish Online Practices of Extremist Language and Thought.” International Journal of Communication 13:3104–3121.
Langton, Rae. 2018. “The Authority of Hate Speech.” In Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Law. Vol. 3, edited by John Gardner, Leslie Green, and Brian Leiter, 123–152. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Law, John, and Michel Callon. 1992. “The Life and Death of an Aircraft: A Network Analysis of Technical Change.” In Shaping Technology/Building Society: Studies in Sociotechnical Change, edited by Wiebe E. Bijker and John Law, 21–52. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Manovich, Lev. 2001. The Language of New Media. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Marcuse, Herbert. 1964. One-Dimensional Man. New York: Beacon.
Mathur, Nayanika. 2015. “‘Its Conspiracy Theory and Climate Change’: Of Beastly Encounters and Cervine Disappearances in Himalayan India.” HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 5 (1): 87–111.
Mazzarella, William. 2018. “Brand(ish)Ing the Name, or, Why Is Trump So Enjoyable?” In Sovereignty, Inc.: Three Inquiries in Politics and Enjoyment, edited by William Mazzarella, Eric L. Santner, and Aaron, Schuster, 113–160. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
McGranahan, Carole. 2017. “An Anthropology of Lying: Trump and the Political Sociality of Moral Outrage.” American Ethnologist 44 (2): 243–248.
———. 2019. “A Presidential Archive of Lies: Racism, Twitter, and a History of the Present.” International Journal of Communication 13:3164–3182.
Mignolo, Walter D., and Arturo Escobar. 2010. Globalization and the Decolonial Option. London: Routledge.
Mignolo, Walter D., and Catherine E. Walsh. 2018. On Decoloniality: Concepts, Analytics, Praxis. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
Milan, Stefania, and Emiliano Trere. 2019. “Big Data from the South(s): Beyond Data Universalism.” Television and New Media 20 (4): 319–335.
Miller, Daniel, and Don Slater. 2000. The Internet: An Ethnographic Approach. London: Routledge.
Mitchell, Lisa. 2018. “Civility and Collective Action: Soft Speech, Loud Roars, and the Politics of Recognition.” Anthropological Theory 18 (2–3): 217–247.
Moffitt, Benjamin. 2016. The Global Rise of Populism: Performance, Political Style and Representation. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
Mouffe, Chantal. 2005. On the Political. London: Routledge.
Nagle, Angela. 2017. Kill All Normies: Online Culture Wars from 4Chan and Tumblr to Trump and the Alt-Right. Alresford: Zero.
Ong, Jonathan Corpus, and Jason V. Cabanes. 2018. Architects of Networked Disinformation: Behind the Scenes of Troll Accounts and Fake News Production in the Philippines. Newton Tech4Dev Network. https://newtontechfordev.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/ARCHITECTS-OF-NETWORKED-DISINFORMATION-FULL-REPORT.pdf
Ostiguy, Pierre. 2009. “The High and the Low in Politics: A Two-Dimensional Political Space for Comparative Analysis and Electoral Studies.” Working Paper 360. https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/THE-HIGH-AND-THE-LOW-IN-POLITICS%3A-A-TWO-DIMENSIONAL-Ostiguy/a399dd77f16c07a5e39fbbba4e917a0e48d17fc8
Pandey, Gyanendra. 2013. A History of Prejudice: Race, Caste, and Difference in India and the United States. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Peterson, Mark Allen. 2009. “What’s the Point of Media Anthropology? Response to John Postill.” Social Anthropology 17 (3): 337–339.
Pohjonen, Matti. 2019. “A Comparative Approach to Social Media Extreme Speech: Online Hate Speech as Media Commentary.” International Journal of Communication 13:3088–3103.
Pohjonen, Matti, and Sahana Udupa. 2017. “Extreme Speech Online: An Anthropological Critique of Hate Speech Debates.” International Journal of Communication 11:1173–1191.
Post, Robert. 2009. “Hate Speech.” In Extreme Speech and Democracy, edited by Ivan Hare and Jeremy Weinstein, 123–138. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Rajagopal, Arvind. 2001. Politics after Television: Hindu Nationalism and the Reshaping of the Indian Public. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Rodotà, Stefano. 1997. Tecnopolitica. La Democrazia e Le Nuove Tecnologie Della Comunicazione. Bari: Laterza.
Said, Edward W. 1978. Orientalism. New York: Random House.
Schaflechner, Juergen. 2019. “Blasphemy and the Appropriation of Vigilante Justice in ‘Hagiographic’ Writing in Pakistan.” In Outrage: The Rise of Religious Offence in South Asia, edited by Kathinka Froystad, Paul Rollier, and Arild Engelsen Ruud, 207–234. London: UCL Press.
Schroeder, Ralph. 2018. Social Theory after the Internet: Media, Technology and Globalization. London: UCL Press.
Stankiewicz, Damien. 2019. “Placing Racialization: Public Space and Politics in a Far-Right Town in France.” Paper presented at the workshop, “Critical Understanding of Racialization in the Era of Global Populism,” Aalborg University, Copenhagen, June 3–4.
Stewart, Kathleen. 1990. “Backtalking the Wilderness: Appalachian En-Genderings.” In Uncertain Terms: Negotiating Gender in American Culture, edited by Faye Ginsburg and Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, 43–56. Boston: Beacon.
Suchman, Lucy. 1987. Plans and Situated Actions: The Problem of Human-Machine Communication. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Thirangama, Sharika, Tobias Kelly, and Carlos Forment. 2018. “Introduction: Whose Civility?” Anthropological Theory 18 (2–3): 153–174.
Tracy, Karen. 2008. “‘Reasonable Hostility’: Situation-Appropriate Face-Attack.” Journal of Politeness Research 4 (2): 169–191.
Treré, Emiliano, and Alejandro Barranquero Carretero. 2018. “Tracing the Roots of Technopolitics: Towards a North-South Dialogue.” In Networks, Movements and Technopolitics in Latin America: Critical Analysis and Current Challenges, edited by Francisco Sierra Caballero and Tommaso Gravante, 43–63. Cham: Springer.
Udupa, Sahana. 2015a. Making News in Global India: Media, Publics, Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
———. 2015b. Abusive Exchange on Social Media: The Politics of Online Gaali Cultures in India. Media Anthropology Network 52nd E-seminar, European Association of Social Anthropologists, July.
———. 2017. “Gaali Cultures: The Politics of Abusive Exchange on Social Media.” New Media and Society 20 (4): 1506–1522.
———. 2020. “Decoloniality and Extreme Speech.” Presented at European Association of Social Anthropologists Media Anthropology Network 65th e-Seminar, June 17–30.
Udupa, Sahana, and Matti Pohjonen. 2019. “Extreme Speech and Global Digital Cultures.” International Journal of Communication 13:3049–3067.
United Nations. 1966. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. https://treaties.un.org/doc/publication/unts/volume%20999/volume-999-i-14668-english.pdf
Verkaaik, Oskar. 2004. No Title Migrants and Militants: Fun and Urban Violence in Pakistan. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Walsh, Catherine E., and Walter D. Mignolo. 2018. “Introduction.” In On Decoloniality: Concepts, Analytics, Praxis, edited by Walter D. Mignolo and Catherine E. Walsh, 1–12. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.