Performing right-wing political identities on reader comments pages
Recent discourse research has examined the rise of right-wing populism. Yet the predominant focus on political parties and politicians makes that we know less about how right-wing identities are performed among ordinary people with different degrees of political engagement. This paper examines reader comments pages in three British newspapers, analysing how participants perform, defend and reinforce their political identities in online fora. It traces how supporters of the far-right United Kingdom Independence Party perform collective identities and enact political antagonisms. The conclusions emphasise how online media particularly propitiate the blending of personal and societal discourses, and suggest that the internal dynamics of affordances such as comments pages propel conflict escalation and heighten antagonism.
Keywords: discourse analysis, political discourse, digital discourse, reader comments, right-wing populism