Memetic Irony and the Promotion of Violence within Chan Cultures

This project will investigate the role of Alt-Right online subcultures in the promotion and escalation of real-world violence, through comparative analysis of violent memes and content across four Alt-Right chan platforms. It will compare 8chan (currently offline) during the peak of violence in the Summer of 2019, with current prominent boards: 4chan, 16chan and Neinchan. An offshoot of the Far-Right, the Alt-Right is understood as a primarily online community, which grounds its logic in the belief that certain traits are racially and biologically innate, and thus lends support to the idea of an explicitly white identity.

In this project, we will generate an understanding of the diversity of memetic content shared between chan platforms, thereby generating new data and extending the current online radicalisation literature towards a more in-depth understanding of the online chan ecosystem.

Additionally, we will generate a unique and unprecedented qualitative understanding of how memes may influence violent discourse between chan platforms and situate the chan ecosystem within online radicalisation literature. Finally, we will integrate an in-depth and multi-disciplinary understanding of the promotion of violence within the chan ecosystem into practitioners’ existing understandings of Far-Right online radicalisation.

Project webpage

Principal Investigator

Guillermo Suarez-Tangil

Institution

King’s College London

People

Peter Neumann

Florence Keen

Blyth Crawford