Barth, N., Wagner, E., Raab, P., & Wiegärtner, B. (2023). Contextures of hate: Towards a systems theory of hate communication on social media platforms. The Communication Review, 26(3), 209–252.
Open access: Yes
Notes: By conducting a literature review of online hate speech, the authors identify five approaches:
As a response, they outline the need for a funcionalist perspective of online hate speech, that better addresses a systemic-theoretical lens. Here, they propose the following four proposals:
Abstract: We inquire into different perspectives and patterns of problematizing online hate speech within the social sciences from a systems-theoretical perspective. Our results identify five different research perspectives adopted by studies on the issue: (1) systematic perspectives on problems of operationalizing (online) hate speech; (2) intentionalist perspectives on actors and their motives; (3) consequentialist perspectives on victims of online hate speech; (4) perspectives on media affordances, infrastructures, and strategies of online hate speech; and finally, (5) normative perspectives on the consequences of online hate speech. Additionally, we want to propose a functionalist perspective on hate communication and, for this purpose, develop a systems-theoretical and media-sociological framework for analyzing online hate speech. A systems-theoretical perspective connects to a process-oriented paradigm of doing hate speech. Instead of asking what hate speech is, a systems-theoretical framework focuses on how different communicative contextures empirically produce different understandings of hate communication. We will make four research proposals: We will (1) conceptualize hate as hate communication, then proceed to (2) analyze different communicative contextures, (3) develop media archeology of negation and conflict communication, and finally (4) focus on the function of conflict and hate communication for the emergence of (counter-)publics.