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Virality and Morphogenesis of Right Wing Internet Populism

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Eva Kimminich and Julius Erdmann

Information and its individual interpretations are highly discussed in social media. Their use and misuse is an important subject for cultural and media studies. The theoretical framework of this volume is based on a synopsis of socio-constructivist and semiotic paradigms, which permit insight into ongoing adjustments of the social perception of reality and the thereby changing benchmarks. The assembled micro-studies concentrate primarily on right-wing Internet populism in Germany, France and Italy and allow a more precise idea of the effects the disseminated myths, metaphors and memes can have: Becoming viral, they can have an influence on a society’s semiosphere, i.e.on common sense and social life.

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Virality and Emotionality of the Lügenpresse Phenomenon

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A Critical Discourse Analysis of German and French Right-Wing Websites

Abstract: The term “Lügenpresse phenomenon” (may be translated as ‘lying press phenomenon’) comprises general accusations of a tendentious and manipulative reporting and is closely related to the anti-Islam Pegida movement that arose in autumn 2014 in Germany. However, suggesting that the media are willfully telling lies is neither reserved for Pegida supporters, nor typically German. On the contrary, critical thinking or talking about the media is an integral part of the self-assurance of educated middle classes and therefore internationally an issue (see Seidler 2016). Since these reproaches are often the starting point for nationalist or even discriminatory and racist contents, the online occurrences of the phenomenon in Germany and France on four websites are subjected to an extensive analysis in order to reveal which social struggles and power relations find expression in which language structures. Further attention is given to the emotional aspects of the discourse, as it appears to be so emotionally charged that this could be a factor for its dissemination. For the whole research purpose presented here, the applied method is Critical Discourse Analysis founded by Norman Fairclough. It is expanded by a special focus on metaphorical concepts as defined by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson (2011). The combination of different but complementary approaches makes it possible to point out the unquestioned ideological assumptions and the underlying causes of the Lügenpresse phenomenon. In recurring discussions about a differently named capitalist class...

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