DISCOURSES OF VICTIMHOOD AND IDENTITY POLITICS ON SOCIAL MEDIA: UNDERSTANDING AFFECTIVE POLARIZATION DURING THE US ELECTION

Amanda Trigiani, Megan Boler
2021 Selected Papers of Internet Research, SPIR  
This cross-platform digital ethnography examines the nuances of how emotions are expressed and who they are directed towards within social media in order to better understand the phenomenon of affective polarization and the increased emotionality online. As part of a larger three-year SSHRC-funded comparative study between the US and Canadian elections, the focused dataset for this project draws on grounded theory (Charmaz, 2006) and our exploration of 1800 social media posts from the political
more » ... left and right across social media platforms: Twitter, Facebook, and Gab. By examining how social media users discursively construct representations of self and other through expressions of us/them dichotomies, this project seeks to better understand polarized political identities and how social media users emphasize that their morals and values are similar or distinct from others. How do people on the left and the right feel victimized by the other? What are the moral and emotional injuries as well as the identity politics upon which they base their claims to victimhood and simultaneously place blame on the other? How do social media users rhetorically express their indignation through us/them dichotomizing, to justify their negative affect as well as enactments of revenge as moral duty? In addition to presenting key findings, this talk highlights our innovative approach to affective discourse analysis developed over the past two years of iterative, grounded theoretical qualitative study.
doi:10.5210/spir.v2021i0.12254 fatcat:jkixvxxqibck7b4qzbqlobousi