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Dehumanization in Everyday Politics: A study of discursive dehumanization of beggars on social media
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Government.
2019 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Social science scholars mainly regard dehumanization as a phenomenon of conflict and war. Concurrently, dehumanizing attitudes and behavior in democratic, non-conflict settings is a significant field within social psychology. Given the rise of right-wing populism and populist rhetoric, there is reason to believe that dehumanization has nestled its way into political discourse. With this background, the current study has investigated whether dehumanizing attitudes allegedly held by citizens are also expressed in their political arguments. Dehumanization can lead to support for aggression, discrimination, and violence even in democratic societies. Therefore, it is essential for political scientists to acknowledge its existence, as dehumanization can have a severe impact on equality and the defense of human rights. This paper is a cross-cutting study, which bridges the gap between political science and social psychology in the study of dehumanization by answering the question: Whether and how dehumanization is used in the debate on street begging in everyday politics?

Discursive dehumanization on social media was mapped with the help of a novel analytical tool for content analysis. Social psychology has shown that people hold dehumanizing attitudes, and this study has shown that people are also willing to express these attitudes. This study finds that dehumanization is used in the debate on street begging to a significant degree. Dehumanization is mainly used in negative depictions of beggars, which undermine their moral capacity, civility, and refinement. The results of this study provide a foundation for studying both discursive dehumanization and dehumanization in political science. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. , p. 65
Keywords [en]
Dehumanization, political communication, discourse, right-wing populism, social media, political participation
National Category
Political Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-375106OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-375106DiVA, id: diva2:1282776
Subject / course
Political Science
Educational program
Master Programme in Political Science
Supervisors
Available from: 2019-01-30 Created: 2019-01-25 Last updated: 2019-01-30Bibliographically approved

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Joanna Hellström Dehumanization in Everyday Politics(775 kB)118 downloads
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Citation style
  • apa
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