A1 Journal article (refereed)
Affective (re)orientations in online discussions on the threat of violence posed by migrants (2020)

Virkki, T., & Venäläinen, S. (2020). Affective (re)orientations in online discussions on the threat of violence posed by migrants. Social Identities, 26(3), 403-418. https://doi.org/10.1080/13504630.2020.1767055

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Virkki, Tuija; Venäläinen, Satu

Journal or series: Social Identities

ISSN: 1350-4630

eISSN: 1363-0296

Publication year: 2020

Volume: 26

Issue number: 3

Pages range: 403-418

Publisher: Routledge

Publication country: United Kingdom

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/13504630.2020.1767055

Publication open access: Not open

Publication channel open access:


Online discussions are rife with fear-evoking images and meaning making that highlight a perceived threat to the security of European nations and their inhabitants posed by migrants’ violence in the wake of increased immigration. This paper examines the role of emotions in shaping anti-immigration views as a response to the threat of violence attached to migrants in online conversations. Using a dataset of Finnish online discussion threads from 2015 to 2017 that were prompted by extensive media attention paid to various cases of violent crime in which migrants were suspects, we particularly analyse the affective dynamics of interpellation processes wherein discussants are invited to adopt anti-immigration orientations. This analysis demonstrates how emotions such as fear, hate, and love function together in complex ways to constitute and shift meanings constructed during these discussions. These processes afford the construction and adoption of affectively appealing identities that are based on the re-signification of anti-immigration orientations as morally and socially acceptable, such as ‘normal citizen’ and ‘caring parent’. The analysis thus provides insight into processes in which ‘ordinary’ citizens hear, and respond to the call for xenophobic positions, thereby illustrating how a sense of community and caring for a community is built within these affective processes.

Keywords: online discussion; xenophobia; orientation (cognition); social identity; emotions; fear (emotions); migrants; violence (activity)

Free keywords: affects; anti-immigration; xenophobia; interpellation; orientations; violence

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2020

JUFO rating: 1

Last updated on 2021-07-07 at 21:32