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Uncivility on the web

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Populism in/and the borderline discourses of exclusion

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Abstract

This paper explores the connection between the rise of new types of online uncivil discourses and the recent success of populism. While discussions on the upsurge of populism have centred on institutionalised politics and politicians, only limited attention has been paid to how the success of the former and the latter was propelled by developments outside of the political realm narrowly conceived. Our interest is therefore in the rise of uncivil society, especially on the web, and in its ‘borderline discourse’ at the verge of civil and uncivil ideas, ideologies and norms. Those discourses – showcased here on the example of the language on immigration/refugees in Austria and Sweden – have been using civil-to-uncivil shifts in the discursive representations of society and politics. They have progressively ‘normalised’ the anti-pluralist views across many European public spheres on a par with nativist and exclusionary views now widely propagated by right-wing populist politics in Europe and beyond.

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