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Underdogs Shepherding the Flock—Discursive Outgrouping of ‘the Internal Enemy’ in Online Discussions

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Part of the Palgrave Studies in Discursive Psychology book series (PSDP)

Abstract

In this chapter, we analyse how mainstream discussants articulate their objections to multiculturalism when discussing news events featuring radical right talking points on intergroup relations. Collecting discussions on two high-profile media events on the Facebook page of Helsingin Sanomat, the largest daily newspaper in the Nordic countries, we analyse both established and emergent discourses of othering. In the first case study, we analyse the debates revolving around the emergence of the far-right vigilante group Soldiers of Odin in January 2016, while the second case examines the discussion on the election of Jussi Halla-aho as the chairman of the radical right populist Finns Party in June 2017. We find that lay discussants construct a category of ‘internal enemies’, and present them as multiculturalist traitors of the nation.

Keywords

  • Multiculturalism
  • Soldiers of Odin
  • Finns Party
  • Radical right lay discourse
  • Vigilantism
  • Intergroup relations

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Chairman from 10 June 2017 to 14 August 2021.

  2. 2.

    The authors carefully weighed the ethical considerations regarding the collection of material. The material was collected from a public Facebook page of Helsingin Sanomat, with authors removing any information identifying the discussants cited. In a context, where the discussants participate in public debate on an open arena, “informed consent [...] although desirable, it is not [...] essential [and] can be waived if the research involves minimal risk and does not negatively affect the rights and well-being of subjects” (Sugiura, Wiles, and Pope 2016). This decision is also in line with the suggestion by Hård af Segerstad et al. (2017, 220) for using the “thumb rule” of “data minimization”, only retrieving and presenting “the data needed to pursue a specific research question.”

  3. 3.

    A more rigorous application of the five-step model would have been counterproductive, both by downplaying the groundedness reached through the inductive approach to coding, and also because the material is composed of informal lay discourse. After all, social media commentary on popular media events nurtures a rhetoric where the element of collective curation serves to impede the kind of systematic articulations that characterise the rhetoric of the subjects the five-step model focuses on: political leaders, ethnopolitical identity entrepreneurs and ideological activists.

  4. 4.

    All translations are by the authors. The list of original extracts in Finnish is available in Appendix A.

  5. 5.

    Itäkeskus is a neighbourhood in Eastern Helsinki known for its large mall and its more multicultural population (at the end of 2018, 38.1% of Itäkeskus’ residents had a foreign background, especially African, currently the second highest percentage in all of Helsinki. https://ulkomaalaistaustaisethelsingissa.fi/en/content/spatial-distribution-population-foreign-background).

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Correspondence to Gwenaëlle Bauvois .

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Appendices

Appendix A: Extracts in Finnish

SOO 1.18:

Juu sehän huolestuttaa jos suomalaiset pitää toistensa turvallisuudesta huolta! Tää meidän valtiovalta kun on panostanut vaan näihin turvapaikanhakioihin omat voimansa!

HA 6.13:

Siksi, että tämän kansan on aika herätä.

HA 8.2:

Jep, onneksi nämä otsikoinnit kääntyvät JHAn eduksi. Suomalaiset ovat heräämässä.

SOO 1:16:

Miten nämä tph asiat nyt muka jtn yllättää.? onhan näistä jo puhuttu kohta puolivuotta, ja mihinkä tämä johtaa sekä mitä riemuja meille näistä viell tulee. Nyt naatitaan vaan.sadosta...!

Mutta minkäs teet.?? näillä mennään. Ja nyt kukin huolehtikoon itsestään sekä perheestään...parhaan kykynsä mukaan...!!

(HA) 5.3::

Eikös hallitusohjelmaan ollut kirjattu 750 pakolaisen kiintiö ? Montakos niitä on otettu ? Mitä tämä kaikki on tullut jo nyt maksamaan ? Nämä valtaapitäviä hännystelevät toimittaja-junkkarit (sori kirjoitusvirhe) voisivat hoitaa työnsä ja selvittää asian kansalaisille. Ja samaan hengenvetoon kysellä näiltä puheenjohtaja-pelleiltä, miten he aikovat rahoittaa näiden ulkomailta tulleiden toiviolasten aiheuttamat kulut.

HA 2:8:

Hei haloo hesassa on näitä tummia ollut iät ajat ja minulla on kolme tytärtä, joita hakenut autolla sieltä täältä tuolta turvallisuussyistä. Ja varsinkin nuorimmaistani, joka nyt 23, mamujen vuoksi itiksestä kun ei usksaltanut tUlla bussilla kotia.

Minä oon nyt 58 ja mamut lääppiny mua metrossa. Jos olisivat olleet valkoisia olisin knokannu otsaan mutta en viitsiny näitä. Ei jaksa kuunnella sitä rasisti paskaa.

SOO 2:5:

Pakkohan täällä on kohta ollakkin joitakin katupartioita jos naiset ei saa rauhassa liikkua iltaisin ja poliisit ei kykene jokapaikkaan auttamaan.

SOO 1:12:

Hyvä että joku partioi. Täällä Suomessa, varsinkin kotoaan poissa opiskelevat pelkäävät hitosti raiskaajia ja ryöstäjiä. ENTÄ JOS joku ryöstäisi tai hakkaisi teidät? Ja kun ei kukaan partioisi, avunhuuto on lähes turhaa, kuin miehillä ja naisilla. Olisitteko sitten samaa mieltä, jos te joutuisitte rikoksen uhreiksi?'

SOO 2:10::

Ihmettelen suuresti näitä naisia jotka taistelevat rasismia vastaa samalla hyväksyvät miesjoukon kourivan naisia kadulla. Kuka puolustaa naista/tyttöä joka kohtaa 2-5 hengen miesjoukon jotka tulevat iholle.? Minäkä olen rasisti joka en hyväksy tätä, mitä nämä ovat petoja.

HA 6:15::

Nuo raiskaustekstit ovat nähtävissä monella tapaa.

Tietenkin paras tilanne on, kun ketään ei raiskata, mutta tuossa toivotaan lähinnä uhreiksi joutuvan "syyttömien" sijaan joitain muita. Avaan tätä ajatusta vertauksen kautta: Jos muurari tekee huteran talon, kumman toivot asuvan siinä talossa? Muurarin itse, vai jonkun muun. Jos muurarin tekemä hutera talo romahtaa, sinne sisään jää joko viaton tai sitten muurari itse, jolloin hän joutuisi kärsimään itse oman huonon työnsä seuraukset.

(SOO) 3.2::

Noi pellet kannattavat raiskauksia ja pakolaisten tekemiä väkivallantekoja. He ovat joko erittäin tyhmiä tai pakolaisia Suomeen orjatyövoimaksi hankkivan hallituksen palkkaamia.

(HA) 6.23::

Suomen oikeuslaitos polkee rikosten/raiskattujen uhrien asemaa rasisti-leiman pelossa. Eurooppalainen suvaitsevasuus ja sivistystasokilpailu on johtanut MATUJEN lieviin raiskautuomioihin mikä tekee heistä immuuneja rangaistuksen pelosta.

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Bauvois, G., Pyrhönen, N., Pyysiäinen, J. (2022). Underdogs Shepherding the Flock—Discursive Outgrouping of ‘the Internal Enemy’ in Online Discussions. In: Pettersson, K., Nortio, E. (eds) The Far-Right Discourse of Multiculturalism in Intergroup Interactions. Palgrave Studies in Discursive Psychology. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-89066-7_3

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