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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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Methodological appendix

Extract

Designing and conducting a research project in virtual fields poses consistent challenges at each and every crucial point in the research process. No surprise, then, that it was a fascinating activity. The general rigours of social research methods proved extremely valuable in guiding the overall project, but contextual challenges determined the need for self-reflexivity and flexibility during the collection and analysis of data. One key issue was the difficulty in deciding when to begin and when to stop collecting the data. The internet overall and the chosen blog in particular are very dynamic. Contents are updated or changed on a daily basis, if not even more frequently. For instance, while collecting the data, the New Right blog has changed its appearance twice. At the time of writing, the blog template is, once more, different. First, this fluid character of virtual forms and symbols challenged the marks I have chosen in order to analyse the nationalistic symbolism. But when change became a habit, I noticed that the identity symbols were constant on what one might call the virtual canvas of the blog. My analysis is then grounded in the patterns that color the New Right blog. A different challenge was to understand the virtual data in a larger context, particularly the differences that characterizes it when compared to the traditional written press. Only acknowledging the internet as a cultural product embeded in a larger sociocultural setting helped in orienting the research toward the sensible use of data. This appendix sheds some...

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