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Apocalypse on the net

Extreme Threat and the Majority-Minority Relationship on the Romanian Internet

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Adela Fofiu

The apocalypse can bring upon the world either termination, either change. By exploring how emotions, ethnic or national belonging and digital technologies work together in constructing an apocalypticizing national self, this book offers a complex analysis of far rightist apocalyptic narratives. Content analysis performed on the blog of the New Right, a far rightist organization from Romania, unveils a fascinating imaginary of fear and hate toward otherness, of strong beliefs that the world, our world, is ending through its transformation into something else – something that we know and, at the same time, do not know and loath. The social psychology of emotions, belonging and identity, the sociology of globalization and studies on cyberhate are intertwined into the exploration and interpretation of on-line apocalyptic narratives that imagine the Gypsification and Hungarization of Romania and the Islamization of Europe as irreversible change.

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Chapter 1: Panic on the web: cyberhate, identity and fear

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15 Chapter 1 Panic on the web: cyberhate, identity and fear The research on the Romanian cyberhate has been, among many other processes, a long term, painstaking work on finding the most appropriate tools to deepen the understanding of what on-line extreme and intolerant speech means. Adopting Wallerstein’s view over the world system, any social event or phenomenon is embedded into a global network of interdependencies and the wider the view over these interdependencies, the better the understanding of contexts (Wallerstein, 1974). It was a complex process to decide between looking specifically at the Romanian context - cropping it from the historical and cultural heritage of the Balkan and Eastern European area and the current status of the information age and societ - and looking at the Romanian context in a wider frame - the European identity as a result of historical flows and cultural interactions in a digital era that surpasses the industrial society and transposes us all into the Information Age. As well, I had to decide between adopting a sociological approach and using the wide variety of tools that social sciences have to offer. The mere concept of cyberhate implies knowledge from various fields in order to decipher it. The prefix cyber- is used to indicate the existence of entities and events in the virtual universe or virtual space that the occurrence of global electronic networks and the internet facilitated. Though it is not my intention here to summarise the specific language of information and communication technologies,...

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