Work Package no. 1 – Research design
WP 1 synthesizes propositions found in the diverse and segmented research literatures dealing with contextual determinants, behavioural and attitudinal effects of (a) intolerance towards minorities and disliked actors and (b) deliberation and uncivil talk among citizens.
Under this WP we developed a software for the collection of online comments from news media websites and conducted an exploratory analysis of the discursive manifestations of anti-democratic intolerant discourse (ADID) in online comments in Romania. The content analysis followed a mixed approach, both manual – using trained coders, and automatic, and the findings were used in devising the research design for the other work packages.
- Use the relevant research literature to synthesize the main concepts within a common framework as well as to develop and refine the research hypotheses;
- Review relevant research literatures to elaborate indicators of ADID applicable to the Romanian context;
- Develop software for the collection of online comments;
- Collect online comments;
- Analyse the discursive manifestations of ADID in online comments in Romania.
- The exploratory analysis of online comments showed that there is a significant amount of incivility and intolerance in the online comments section of newspapers. The most frequent discursive manifestation of ADID is disrespectful language, mostly name-calling and insults, but also vulgarity.
- Comments also abound in stereotypes and prejudice. The most often direct targets of these behaviours are the Roma minority, members of the LGBT community (who are often ridiculed), ethnic minorities (especially Hungarians) and women. But there are also other groups who are indirect targets of uncivil and intolerant talk, being referred to with the intent to insult other individuals or groups (the case of slurs). The most often latent targets of this discursive behaviour are people with health or mental disabilities, followed by the Roma population, the poor or lower classes and the “regional other” (ex. people from Moldova, Oltenia or other regions of Romania). Insults based on resemblance to one of these groups represent a manifestation of the latent, often unconscious prejudice that exists in the society regarding certain minorities, and which has unawarely become embedded in the common, day to day talk and accepted as something normal.
- The automatic text analysis helped us identify the common vocabulary associated with each of these different groups and the main discursive narratives, which confirm the existence of an alarming level of prejudice, ranging from stereotypes and disrespectful language to more hostile attitudes, including racism, homophobia, and even hints towards extreme forms of violence such as extermination and death wishes.
- These initial findings raise concerns about the extremely low quality of the online debate and high levels of intolerance and incivility, confirming the need for a rigorous moderation procedure.
Less Hate, More Speech – Youngsters Get Involved!
The project is run by Median Research Centre (MRC) in partnership with Educ Association and targets young people between 12 and 17 years old, in order to help them better identify and react to online and offline hate speech.
More, on the project’s website.