Ready for the Homeland
Hate Speech on Croatian Right-Wing Public Facebook Pages
The article analyzes nationalistically motivated online hate speech on selected right-wing public Facebook pages in Croatia. The rise of historical revisionism and populism paved the way for the growing presence of hate speech, with the most salient example being the resurfacing of the World War II fascist salute Za dom spremni (“Ready for the Homeland”) across different communicative situations. We account for the online dynamic of Za dom spremni as well as for the most frequent expressions of xenophobia that accompany the salute by presenting data gathered between 2012 – 2017 using Facebook Graph API. From the total of 4.5 million postings published by readers, those containing Za dom spremni and its variations were filtered and followed by the frequency and prevalence of the accompanying notions. By relying on cultural semiotics, we highlight the socio-communicative functions of hate speech on two levels. Firstly, the notion of the semiosphere helps us illustrate how hate speech is used to reproduce the idea of Croatianness as the dominant self-description. Secondly, we examine how the dominant self-description maintains the boundary between us and the other by merging diverse textual fragments and how their perseverance depends on the communicative situations they enter online.
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