Collective identity changes in far-right online communities: The role of offline intergroup conflict
journal contributionposted on 01.08.2019, 00:00 authored by A M Bliuc, J Betts, Matteo VerganiMatteo Vergani, Muhammad Iqbal, K Dunn
© The Author(s) 2019. Despite the increasing citizen engagement with socio-political online communities, little is known about how such communities are affected by significant offline events. Thus, we investigate here the ways in which the collective identity of a far-right online community is affected by offline intergroup conflict. We examine over 14 years of online communication between members of Stormfront Downunder, the Australian sub-forum of the global white supremacist community Stormfront.org. We analyse members’ language use and discourse before and after significant intergroup conflict in 2015, culminating in local racist riots in Sydney, Australia. We found that the riots were associated with significant changes in the collective beliefs of the community (as captured by members’ most salient concerns and group norms), emotions and consensus within the community. Overall, the effects of the local riots were manifest in a reinvigorated sense of purpose for the far-right community with a stronger anti-Muslim agenda.