“Othering”, “violence” and the online arena: Coming to terms with social media as political space

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Social media is increasingly changing the way we look upon political activity and engagement. As early as 2008 it was highlighted as having played an important role in Barack Obama’s successful campaign to become President of the United States. Since then, social media has been deemed a crucial mechanism for delivering political messages to an increasingly online constituency base.
This paper will examine a negative side of political activity on social media by assessing the extent to which it is facilitating a rise in online “Othering”. It will be argued that this Othering encourages a form of “violence” (trolling) against those deemed the Other/s which is now beginning to replicate itself in the wider political arena through an intolerance of “other” viewpoints and perspectives. This will centre on the idea that political activity on social media is increasingly structured within “echo chambers” that prevent meaningful engagement between diverging groups and which serve to encourage an “us and them” political culture.
As part of this, the paper will explore the extent to which social media is becoming a mobilising agent for political extremes and is providing a safe “space” for political narratives that had been previously deemed discredited.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2018
EventViolence, Space and the Political - National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland
Duration: 07 Jun 201809 Jun 2018


ConferenceViolence, Space and the Political
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