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Elite Communication and Legitimization of Violence During Intergroup Conflicts

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Abstract:

This paper investigates universal themes in the violence-legitimizing communication of elites during inter-group (i.e. ethnic) conflicts. A comparative content analysis was conducted across communication from elites who have been internationally recognized as having played some kind of leadership role for in-groups that have committed acts of violence against out-group(s). Data stretching across two decades from four different cases - the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Sri Lanka and Myanmar - were examined. A thematic coding scheme was developed using themes identified in the previous literature, Susan Benesch’s proposal on dangerous speech (2012) and perspectives from Social Identity Theory (1981). Coding and analysis revealed that across countries and temporal spans, elites use a combination of themes but greatly bolster in-group and out-group distinctions and identity through their language choices, but typically avoid outright dehumanization as commonly assumed. Moreover, they excessively create non-falsifiable statements about current, past, or future events; and employ allegations against the intentions, plans and activities of the out-group. These non-falsifiable statements make a bulk of their speech or broadcasts. Several additional themes were identified as well.
Keywords: elite communication, legitimization of violence, inter-group/ethnic conflicts, content/thematic analysis, comparative approach.
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Association:
Name: International Communication Association 65th Annual Conference
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http://www.icahdq.org


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p984895_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Shaikh, Sonia. and McCornack, Steven. "Elite Communication and Legitimization of Violence During Intergroup Conflicts" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association 65th Annual Conference, Caribe Hilton, San Juan, Puerto Rico, May 21, 2015 <Not Available>. 2018-02-13 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p984895_index.html>

APA Citation:

Shaikh, S. J. and McCornack, S. , 2015-05-21 "Elite Communication and Legitimization of Violence During Intergroup Conflicts" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association 65th Annual Conference, Caribe Hilton, San Juan, Puerto Rico Online <APPLICATION/PDF>. 2018-02-13 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p984895_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: This paper investigates universal themes in the violence-legitimizing communication of elites during inter-group (i.e. ethnic) conflicts. A comparative content analysis was conducted across communication from elites who have been internationally recognized as having played some kind of leadership role for in-groups that have committed acts of violence against out-group(s). Data stretching across two decades from four different cases - the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Sri Lanka and Myanmar - were examined. A thematic coding scheme was developed using themes identified in the previous literature, Susan Benesch’s proposal on dangerous speech (2012) and perspectives from Social Identity Theory (1981). Coding and analysis revealed that across countries and temporal spans, elites use a combination of themes but greatly bolster in-group and out-group distinctions and identity through their language choices, but typically avoid outright dehumanization as commonly assumed. Moreover, they excessively create non-falsifiable statements about current, past, or future events; and employ allegations against the intentions, plans and activities of the out-group. These non-falsifiable statements make a bulk of their speech or broadcasts. Several additional themes were identified as well.
Keywords: elite communication, legitimization of violence, inter-group/ethnic conflicts, content/thematic analysis, comparative approach.


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