Kristensen, Morten Stinus, ‘We Are Never Allowed to Just Be Ourselves!’: Navigating Hegemonic Danishness in the Online Muslim Counterpublic, Kvinder, Køn & Forskning, 35.2 (2023), 113–29.
For several decades, mainstream media have positioned Muslims as cultural, political, and social outsiders to Denmark. Danish Muslims confront and navigate this exclusionary racial project of hegemonic Danishness in a host of ways, including through online communication and social media practices. This article is a qualitative study of Danish Muslims who produce discursive interventions on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram in direct and indirect relation to mainstream media discourses on Muslimness. Their social media practices are conceptualized as part of an emerging, online Danish Muslim counterpublic where features that afford interactivity shape the counterpublic to be communal in distinct ways. This digital counterpublic provides direct challenges to hegemonic Danishness’ one-dimensional representation of Muslimness. Particularly when it comes to questions of gender and claims to ordinariness through quotidian posts on life as a Danish person who just happens to be Muslim, these social media practices are racial projects that undercut hegemonic Danishness’ racialization of Muslimness as non-Danish, monolithic, and culturally deficient.
Sigurbergsson, Gudbjartur Ingi, and Leon Derczynski. ‘Offensive Language and Hate Speech Detection for Danish’. Proceedings of the 12th Language Resources and Evaluation Conference, Marseille, France: European Language Resources Association, 2020, pp. 3498–3508.
The presence of offensive language on social media platforms and the implications this poses is becoming a major concern in modern society. Given the enormous amount of content created every day, automatic methods are required to detect and deal with this type of content. Until now, most of the research has focused on solving the problem for the English language, while the problem is multilingual. We construct a Danish dataset DKhate containing user-generated comments from various social media platforms, and to our knowledge, the first of its kind, annotated for various types and target of offensive language. We develop four automatic classification systems, each designed to work for both the English and the Danish language. In the detection of offensive language in English, the best performing system achieves a macro averaged F1-score of 0.74, and the best performing system for Danish achieves a macro averaged F1-score of 0.70. In the detection of whether or not an offensive post is targeted, the best performing system for English achieves a macro averaged F1-score of 0.62, while the best performing system for Danish achieves a macro averaged F1-score of 0.73. Finally, in the detection of the target type in a targeted offensive post, the best performing system for English achieves a macro averaged F1-score of 0.56, and the best performing system for Danish achieves a macro averaged F1-score of 0.63. Our work for both the English and the Danish language captures the type and targets of offensive language, and present automatic methods for detecting different kinds of offensive language such as hate speech and cyberbullying.
Farkas, Johan, and Christina Neumayer. ‘“Stop Fake Hate Profiles on Facebook”: Challenges for Crowdsourced Activism on Social Media’. First Monday, Sept. 2017.
This research examines how activists mobilise against fake hate profiles on Facebook. Based on six months of participant observation, this paper demonstrates how Danish Facebook users organised to combat fictitious Muslim profiles that spurred hatred against ethnic minorities. Crowdsourced action by Facebook users is insufficient as a form of sustainable resistance against fake hate profiles. A viable solution would require social media companies, such as Facebook, to take responsibility in the struggle against fake content used for political manipulation.
Farkas, Johan, and Christina Neumayer. Mimicking News: How the Credibility of an Established Tabloid Is Used When Disseminating Racism. Vol. 41, Jan. 2020, pp. 1–22,
This article explores the mimicking of tabloid news as a form of covert racism, relying on the credibility of an established tabloid newspaper. The qualitative case study focuses on a digital platform for letters to the editor, operated without editorial curation pre-publication from 2010 to 2018 by one of Denmark’s largest newspapers, Ekstra Bladet . A discourse analysis of the 50 most shared letters to the editor on Facebook shows that nativist, far-right actors used the platform to disseminate fear-mongering discourses and xenophobic conspiracy theories, disguised as professional news and referred to as articles. These processes took place at the borderline of true and false as well as racist and civil discourse. At this borderline, a lack of supervision and moderation coupled with the openness and visual design of the platform facilitated new forms of covert racism between journalism and user-generated content.
Hervik, Peter. ‘Ritualized Opposition in Danish Online Practices of Extremist Language and Thought’. International Journal of Communication, no. 13, 2019, pp. 3104–3121. Zotero,
This article looks at extreme speech practices in Danish weblogs and Facebook comment threads that treat issues of refugees, migration, Islam, and opponents as a cultural war of values and conflict. The article highlights the ritualized ways in which anti-immigrant sentiments are being communicated, received, and responded to. Such recurrent ritualistic communicative patterns include the use of a distinct indignant tone, sarcasm, racialized reasoning, and the use of “high-fives,” as well as a general indifference to facts. The article argues that these online speech patterns can best be understood as a form of “ritualized opposition” that relies on extremist, divisive use of language and a naturalization of racialized difference in its attempt to recruit and consolidate communities of support.
Hjarvard, Stig, and Mattias Pape Rosenfeldt. ‘Giving Satirical Voice to Religious Conflict’. Nordic Journal of Religion and Society, vol. 30, no. 02, Nov. 2017, pp. 136–152.
his study concerns the Danish public service broadcaster DR’s television satire and comedy show Det slører stadig Still Veiled and its influence on public discussions and controversies concerning religion. Whereas news media’s coverage of Islam is often criticized for having a negative bias and thereby serving to escalate conflict, the cultural programming of public service broadcasters may provide different representations and enable more diverse discussions. In this study we consider how and to what extent Still Veiled gave rise to discussion and controversy concerning religion in both the general public sphere and in smaller cultural publics constituted through various social network media. The analysis shows that several, very different framings of religion appear in these debates. These debates furthermore involve a significant proportion of minority voices. The analysis suggests that a cultural public sphere may work as a corrective to the political public sphere dominated by news media.
Hjarvard, Stig, and Mattias Pape Rosenfeldt. ‘Planning Public Debate: Beyond Entrenched Controversies About Islam’. Contesting Religion, Ed. Knut Lundby, Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter, 2018, 117–134. Crossref,
The contentious public debates about Islam in Scandinavia may to some extent be characterized as an entrenched conflict, upheld by stereotypical framings and fixed rhetorical positions. This case study examines public service media’s ability to facilitate public debates that move beyond such ingrained positions. Through interviews with key professionals behind the TV documentary Rebellion from the Ghetto, we examine the strategies for generating public debate about cultural and religious problems. We furthermore analyse online and offline debates, with particular focus on the inclusion of minority voices and how framings of religion enter and influence the discussion. By consciously downplaying the role of ‘religion’ and framing conflicts in terms of personal experiences and universal themes, the documentary managed to set the scene for a debate in which young Muslims’ various experiences were given authority, thereby allowing the debate to transcend the usual ‘us–them’, ‘majority–minority’ framing of these issues.
Millar, Sharon, Rasmus Nielsen, Anna Vibeke Lindø, and Klaus Geyer. ‘The Use of Hyperlinking as Evidential Practice in Danish Online Hate Speech’. Pragmatics and Society, vol. 11, no. 2, John Benjamins, July 2020, pp. 241–261.
Using data from readers’ comments to news articles from a national Danish newspaper, the article addresses the nature and function of hyperlinks as evidential practice in relation to xenophobic hate speech. Hyperlinks refer to the use of URL addresses to link to websites; hate speech is understood broadly as stigmatising discourse. Adopting a discursive approach to evidentiality that accounts for a range of phenomena including source of knowledge, participant roles, epistemic stance and interactional force, hate speech related hyperlinks and their evidential functions were identified. While not prevalent in number, hyperlinks serve to legitimise negative stances towards minority groups but also support counter speech targeting prejudicial views. Links can be used as part of processes of metaphorical shift and sarcasm as well as to provoke hate speech in comment threads. As URL addresses are frequently textual, they can have evidential functions independent of the material that they link to.
Shield, Andrew DJ. Gay Immigrants and Grindr: Revitalizing Queer Urban Spaces? 2018.
In this (open-access) essay, I assess the idea that Grindr and related apps render urban gay spaces obsolete, and offer three counter-arguments based on my research with immigrants and tourists who use Grindr. In short: newcomers who use Grindr might actually bring new life to queer urban spaces, because… 1. Newcomers don’t use Grindr in the same way they use (physical) queer spaces; 2. Newcomers use Grindr *in* queer spaces; and 3. Newcomers often have better luck finding sex offline.
Shield, Andrew DJ. ‘Grindr Culture: Intersectional and Socio-Sexual’. Ephemera: Theory & Politics in Organization, vol. 18, no. 1, Warwick Business School, 2018, pp. 149–161.
This research note is based on ethnographic work in the greater Copenhagen area on the socio-sexual networking app Grindr and on interviews with twelve recent immigrants who use this platform. As an online space primarily for gay men, Grindr is a unique subculture in which to conduct research about intersections of sexuality with other socio-cultural categories such as race and migration background, but also gender and ability. I find that user experiences with exclusion and discrimination relate to Grindr’s interface, such as its drop-down menus, to the discourses circulated by Grindr users in profile texts, and to user- to-user interactions in private messages.
Shield, Andrew DJ. Immigrants on Grindr: Race, Sexuality and Belonging Online. Palgrave Macmillan, 2019.
This book examines the role of hook-up apps in the lives of gay, bi, trans, and queer immigrants and refugees, and how the online culture of these platforms promotes belonging or exclusion. Within the context of the so-called European refugee crisis, this research focuses on the experiences of immigrants from especially Muslim-majority countries to the greater Copenhagen area, a region known for both its progressive ideologies and its anti-immigrant practices. Grindr and similar platforms connect newcomers with not only dates and sex, but also friends, roommates and other logistical contacts. But these socio-sexual platforms also become spaces of racialization and othering. Weaving together analyses of real Grindr profile texts, immigrant narratives, political rhetoric, and popular media, Immigrants on Grindr provides an in-depth look at the complex interplay between online and offline cultures, and between technology and society.
Shield, Andrew DJ. ‘“Looking for North Europeans Only”: Identifying Five Racist Patterns in an Online Subculture’. Kult, vol. 15, 2018, pp. 87–106.
This article identifies and provides examples of five recurring speech patterns on dating platforms that users might experience as racist and/or xenophobic. Empirical material comes from over 3000 Copenhagen-based profile texts on Grindr and PlanetRomeo—two platforms that cater primarily to men seekingmen—as well as frominterviews with twelverecent immigrants to the greater Copenhagen area who use these platforms. Theories of everyday racism (Essed, 1991), sexual racism (Callander, 2015), and entitlement racism (Essed, 2013; Essed and Muhr, 2018) informedthe formulation of these five patterns, which I identify as the following: persistent questions about the origins of people with migration background; racial-sexual exclusions; racial-sexual fetishes; conflation between (potential) immigrants and economic opportunism; and insults directed at immigrants based on race, nationality, or religion. As an exploratory study, this articlemainly serves to inform readers of the various ways immigrants and people of color can experience racism and xenophobia while participating in online sexual and social networking platforms; but secondly, the chapter archives the mercurial and fleeting (albeit historically embedded) discourses on these platforms for future researchers interested in comparing racisms over time and across cultures.
Yazgan, Pınar, and Deniz Eroğlu Utku. ‘News Discourse and Ideology: Critical Analysis of Copenhagen Gang Wars’ Online News’. Migration Letters, vol. 14, no. 1, Jan. 2017, pp. 145–160.
Gang warfare is one of the social problems that attract attention in Denmark and it occupies an important place in the media discourse. However, the discriminatory and exclusionary effects of this discourse have been largely overlooked in many of the previous studies focusing on this problem. Taking this into account, this study examines the discriminatory aspects of the online news discourse covering these gang wars. In this way, it uncovers the forms of anti-immigrant bias in the news discourse in Denmark by examining articles from two online news articles by the newspaper Politiken and the news quoted from the same newspaper. Specifically, this study aims to demonstrate that the discriminatory and exclusionist discourse on the gang wars in Denmark may cause ethnic discrimination by producing negative social capital. The chosen sample of news articles has been analysed by devoting special attention to the concepts of ‘racism’, ‘exclusion’, ‘marginalisation’ and ‘negative social capital’ which are based on the critical discourse analysis of Teun A. van Dijk, who does not perceive news media as passive reporters but instead draws attention to their role in (re)constructing news events and dominant ideology.
Zuleta, Lumi, and Rasmus Burkal. Hadefulde ytringer i den offentlige online debat. København: Institut for Menneskerettigheder, 2017, p. 120,
Denne rapport beskriver resultaterne fra en undersøgelse om hadefulde ytringer udarbejdet i 2016. Formålet med undersøgelsen er at få indsigt i, hvor ofte hadefulde ytringer optræder i forbindelse med nyhedsformidling og debat. Rapporten gennemgår data bestående af knap 3.000 kommentarer fra henholdsvis DR Nyheders og TV 2 Nyhedernes Facebook-sider. På baggrund af disse kommentarer udledes tendenser og mønstre i et forsøg på at kortlægge omfanget og karakteren af hadefulde ytringer i en bestemt periode. Disse tendenser sammenholde vi med resultaterne fra en Megafon-måling blandt danske Facebook-brugere, hvor der er blevet spurgt ind til oplevelse af debatten og debattonen, og hvorvidt disse oplevelser har betydning for, om man deltager i den offentlige debat online. Desuden gennemgår viden eksisterende lovgivning på området samt de overordnede juridiske rammer, som sættes af international menneskeretsamt dansk ret. Helt overordnet ser vi i denne undersøgelse nærmere på følgende: Omfanget af de hadefulde ytringer på DR Nyheders og TV2 Nyhedernes Facebook-sider Hvilke emner der giver anledning til hadefulde ytringer Hvem der ytrer sig hadefuldt Hvem eller hvad de hadefulde ytringer rettes mod Karakteren af de hadefulde ytringer Konsekvenser af en hård tone i den offentlige debat på Facebook.
Herbert, David, and Janna Hansen. ‘“You Are No Longer My Flesh and Blood”: Social Media and the Negotiation of a Hostile Media Frame by Danish Converts to Islam’. Nordic Journal of Religion and Society, vol. 31, no. 01, May 2018, pp. 4–21.
While surveys suggest that Danes value freedom of religion highly, in practice ethnic Danish converts to Islam report frequent negative responses to their Muslim identities, both in public settings and from friends and family. Our paper examines how active social media users amongst converts to Islam in the greater Copenhagen area negotiate both a predominantly negative media frame and negative personal reactions in their self-understanding, through personal conduct, and on social media. Interviewees report tensions between their Danish and Muslim identities, which they struggle to resolve constructively through tactics aimed at reducing the gap in majority perception between being Muslim and Danish – for example, through exemplary personal conduct, countering negative media representations, and emphasising shared values. However, most report frustration and tiredness at the daily effort and, over time, more pro-active discursive and media-based tactics tend to be replaced by a focus on local and personal relationships.
Farkas, Johan, Jannick Schou, and Christina Neumayer. ‘Platformed Antagonism: Racist Discourses on Fake Muslim Facebook Pages’. Critical Discourse Studies, vol. 15, no. 5, Oct. 2018, pp. 463–480.
This research examines how fake identities on social media create and sustain antagonistic and racist discourses. It does so by analysing 11 Danish Facebook pages, disguised as Muslim extremists living in Denmark, conspiring to kill and rape Danish citizens. It explores how anonymous content producers utilise Facebook’s socio-technical characteristics to construct, what we propose to term as, platformed antagonism. This term refers to socio-technical and discursive practices that produce new modes of antagonistic relations on social media platforms. Through a discourse-theoretical analysis of posts, images, ‘about’ sections and user comments on the studied Facebook pages, the article highlights how antagonism between ethno-cultural identities is produced on social media through fictitious social media accounts, prompting thousands of user reactions. These findings enhance our current understanding of how antagonism and racism are constructed and amplified within social media environments.
Farkas, Johan, Jannick Schou, and Christina Neumayer. ‘Cloaked Facebook Pages: Exploring Fake Islamist Propaganda in Social Media’. New Media & Society, vol. 20, no. 5, May 2018, pp. 1850–1867.
This research analyses cloaked Facebook pages that are created to spread political propaganda by cloaking a user profile and imitating the identity of a political opponent in order to spark hateful and aggressive reactions. This inquiry is pursued through a multisited online ethnographic case study of Danish Facebook pages disguised as radical Islamist pages, which provoked racist and anti-Muslim reactions as well as negative sentiments towards refugees and immigrants in Denmark in general. Drawing on Jessie Daniels’ critical insights into cloaked websites, this research furthermore analyses the epistemological, methodological and conceptual challenges of online propaganda. It enhances our understanding of disinformation and propaganda in an increasingly interactive social media environment and contributes to a critical inquiry into social media and subversive politics.
Christiansen, C. C. ‘Contesting Visibilities: Sartorial Strategies among Muslim Women in Danish Media’. Journal of Intercultural Studies, vol. 32, no. 4, 2011, pp. 335–353.
New media technologies and migration networks create a new situation for the Muslim population in Europe. During the past decade Muslims, usually descendants of migrants, have increasingly taken part in media debates in Danish national and interactive media. They blog on the Internet, write in newspapers and partake in televised panel debates. A significant share of these media activists are women and their reflections on clothing and appearance constitute the major part of my argument in this paper. I discuss the clothing style of eight women who identify as Muslim and who have attracted attention in different forms of media; written and visual mass media or individualised interactive media. Beginning with the concept of sartorial strategies, I argue that by entering the Danish media these women challenge what it means to be equal and available for social contact in a Danish public realm. Some do so by considering how to avoid being ascribed negative stereotypes in everyday interaction and by media audiences, and others by choosing a distinct Islamic style of clothing, consequently their visibility as Muslim women is contested. In other words for some, subtle ways of communicating the new presence of active Muslim women in the media is the response, whereas others communicate this presence more distinctly. These strategies constitute a form of conscious impression management, revealing that Muslim women enter the Danish media with caution. Thus, wearing Islamic fashion is a form of micro-politics, a level of politics usually ignored in discussions of Islam in Europe.
Bloch, Katrina Rebecca. ‘“It Is Just SICKENING”: Emotions and Discourse in an Anti-Immigrant Discussion Forum’. Sociological Focus, vol. 49, no. 4, Oct. 2016, pp. 257–270.
Following 9/11, organizations advocating for stricter immigration policy grew across the United States. This study examines the Web site and online discussion forum of Americans for Legal Immigration Political Action Committee (ALIPAC), a group identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as nativist extremist. While forum participants are geographically dispersed, social media provide them a space to interact with like-minded people. Results show that ALIPAC members provide shared accounts that construct positive moral identities. Forum participants promise positive emotions of pride and power for joining the group, despite the perception that outsiders perceive them as racists. Drawing from tenets of patriotism, participants construct virtual identities and reject the racist stigma by turning them on immigrants, civil rights organizations, and politicians. Participants claim their emotional responses are rational and morally superior to those of the perceived opposition. Failing to share their anger, sense of injustice, and disgust is framed as irrational.
Andreassen, Rikke. Mediated Kinship: Gender, Race and Sexuality in Donor Families. Routledge, 2018.
Illustrating the fascinating intersections of online media and new kinship, this book presents a study of the increasing numbers of single women and lesbian couples reproducing by using donor sperm. It explores how they connect with each other online, develop intimate digital communities and, most importantly, locate their children’s hitherto unknown biological half-siblings, throughout the world. The author discusses how these new families – consisting of only mothers – engage in extended families involving large numbers of ‘donor siblings’. The new families challenge previous understandings of kinship, and provide illustrations of how norms of gender, sexuality and family are challenged, negotiated and maintained in contemporary times. A crucial study of contemporary formations of family, gender and race, Mediated Kinship discusses the racial aspects of the world’s largest sperm bank exporting Danish sperm (termed ‘Viking sperm’), and explores the narratives of whiteness and imagined racial superiority that circulate among mothers, as well as the racialisations accompanying commercial online sperm sales. By analysing contemporary families of donor-conceived children in the context of legislation, reproduction technologies and online media, the book will appeal to scholars across the social sciences with interests in race and ethnicity, whiteness, gender, sexuality, kinship and the sociology of the family.