Beyond incivility: understanding patterns of uncivil and intolerant discourse in online political talk

Rossini, P. (2022) Beyond incivility: understanding patterns of uncivil and intolerant discourse in online political talk. Communication Research, 49(3), pp. 399-425. (doi: 10.1177/0093650220921314)

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This article takes up the popular argument that much online discussion is toxic and hence harmful to democracy, and argues that the pervasiveness of incivility is not incompatible with democratically relevant political talk. Instead of focusing on the tone of political talk, scholars interested in understanding the extent to which digital platforms threaten democratic values should focus on expressions of intolerance. I demonstrate the validity of this conceptual model by investigating the discursive and contextual features associated with incivility and intolerance online in the context of public comments in two different platforms—news websites and Facebook. Results show that incivility and intolerance occur in meaningfully different discussion settings. Whereas incivility is associated with features that reveal meaningful discursive engagement, such as justified opinion expression and engagement with disagreement, intolerance is likely to occur in homogeneous discussions about minorities and civil society—exactly when it can hurt democracy the most.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Rossini, Dr Patricia
Authors: Rossini, P.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Politics
Journal Name:Communication Research
Publisher:SAGE Publications
ISSN (Online):1552-3810
Published Online:26 May 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © The Author(s) 2020
First Published:First published in Communication Research 49(3):399-425
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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