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Beyond dialogue: Exploring solidarity as a mode of communication through a debate on readers’ comments to online news

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This article aims to explore dialogic and solidaritarian modes of communication in relation to democracy that builds on communicational exchange in and with the media, and particularly in relation to online news communication. Departing from the fraud dialogue concept, it defines and exemplifies solidaritarian modes of communication, which are argued to better meet the challenges of democracy and online journalism. This theoretical discussion draws on examples from a debate on the reconstruction of the comments sections in Swedish online newspapers. The debate concerned hate speech, freedom of speech/censorship, anonymity/openness, and moderation/registration policies. I argue that solidaritarian modes of communication include and exceed dialogue through their attitude (discursive mode of address) and practice (discursive or non-discursive mode of action) of reciprocal exchange, empathy, responsibility and restitution. A particular underlining of responsibility as journalistic/editorial/publicist indicates the importance of the communicative setting, online journalism, where ‘journalism’ turns out to be more crucial than ‘online’.
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Keywords: agonistic democracy; deliberative democracy; dialogue; mode of communication; online journalism; readers’ comments; solidarity; user-generated content (UGC)

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Örebro University

Publication date: June 1, 2014

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  • Northern Lights: Film and Media Studies Yearbook was first published in 2002 and places particular emphasis on film, television and new media. The yearbook, although carrying a theme each issue, welcomes a broad range of articles along with shorter review pieces.
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