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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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On the Metaphors of Conspiracy Theories about Refugees in Right-Wing Media

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Abstract: The surge in numbers of people seeking refuge from war has created wide-spread panic in Europe and I daresay even shaped some thought processes in recent political decisions. At the forefront of such panic were right-wing politicians, as well as media and sympathizers, using a language which is often very emotional and seldom eager to stick to just facts and reason. Metaphors are a frequently used tool to inject emotions and fears into a discourse which could use more sober heads. Conspiracy theories additionally serve as handy narrative structures in order to easily make out scapegoats for a world met with uncertainty and change. This work attempts to be a short introduction into the concepts of metaphors and conspiracy theories alike, while demonstrating their relationship as observed in right-wing medial discourse about refugees in Germany and across Europe.

Keywords: conspiracy theories, metaphors, refugees, right wing, German media

1Introduction

Due to the ubiquity of the Internet, alternative patterns of explanation, such as conspiracy theories (further: CTs) have surged in media in recent years (see Fenster 2008: 1). They exert a certain allure due to their simple offers of solutions and explanations. A fitting tool in order to craft such narratives is found in metaphors, which help to blur the lines between fact and fiction. Small wonder that it presents a perfect means within reactionary circles spreading fears of refugees. This work is a summary of the concepts I presented during a talk...

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