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A Call to Educate, Participate, Invoke and Indict: Understanding the Communication of Online Hate Groups

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This study analyzes the messages in hate group websites using a grounded theory approach. Through this process of interpretive inquiry we propose four prominent themes—educate, participate, invoke, and indict—that characterize the messages examined in 21 hate groups. These message themes speak to the: (a) education of members and external publics; (b) participation within the group and in the public realm; (c) invocation of divine calling and privilege; and (d) indictment of external groups including the government, media, and entertainment industries, and other extremist sects. In advancing a substantive grounded theory of online hate group communication, we also explore the potential of these themes to ostensibly reinforce the hate group's identity, reduce external threats, and recruit new members.

Keywords: Extremist Groups; Grounded Theory; Group Communication; Hate Groups

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2010-06-01

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