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Title: 'Keyboard warriors' : the production of Islamophobic identity and an extreme worldview within an online political community
Author: Geddes, Graham Edward
ISNI:       0000 0004 5357 9810
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2014
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The far right English Defence League (EDL) is a strange product of global and local dynamics, most prominently the ‘War on Terror’. While the EDL has become well known for its high-profile demonstrations within local communities, the bulk of its day-to-day activity occurs online within its social networking sites, between supporters – referred to as ‘keyboard warriors’. ‘Keyboard warriors’’ activities are confined to the virtual realm and they are extremely unlikely to attend EDL events in physical space, such as demonstrations. This study explores the kind of Islamophobic identity that is produced by EDL supporters within the networking sites and will focus on how this identity is constructed around insecurities that are central to the lives of this population. EDL supporters can be identified as members of the working class that have experienced significant ontological insecurity since the 1980s, as a consequence of globalisation and related deindustrialisation. Working class identity has been weakened in contrast to the post war era when stronger roles could be located for such groups. Adrift in a post-industrial landscape, located in an ethno-religious war attached to feelings of class and national pride and now mediated by new social networking systems, the insecurities of these sections of the white working class have become attached to a construct of Islamic identity that is defined as essentially immoral and dangerous. This attribution of ‘otherness’, however, is not restricted merely to Muslims, but is applied to any perceived anti-EDL agent, including the government and the police, which are aggregated into a hegemonic foe that persecutes the English nation and facilitates Islamic expansionism. The central theme of the thesis is that new media systems have become critical to an understanding of extreme political identities and the expansion of worldviews in which inter-group conflict is amplified while also offering a sense of meaning and self-esteem for those involved.
Supervisor: Atkinson, Rowland Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available