Why can’t we be friends?
Conflict and alignment within the Alt-Right
The 2017 Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville, Virginia represented a watershed moment for the alt-right movement in the United States, involving a highly visible demonstration of multiple far-right hate groups. Understanding how multiple groups such as those that “united” in the Unite the Right Rally is essential in potentially disrupting future events and curbing their ability to create consensus. In this paper, we note that participants often engage in conflict through evaluative and authoritative stance taking. Aggression is sometimes ignored, and other times gets escalated through interpersonal conflict. Throughout, rapport or consensus is rarely prioritized. These findings offer insight into the workings of the alt-right and provide an example of how discourse analysis can be used in intelligence gathering and research on these dangerous groups.
Keywords: stance, rapport management, trolling, Alt-right, online discourse, mock politeness
Published online: 24 September 2020
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