The “Right” Side of Facebook: Online Mobilization of the Georgian Extreme Right
In recent years, extreme-right groups have become increasingly visible in the republic of Georgia. In several cases they have managed to bring exclusion-oriented issues to the agenda, occupying public space and restricting opportunities for liberal groups and human rights activists. Although this has led to growing concern in political circles and civil society, there has been little in-depth research. Drawing on social movement theory, I investigate the role of digital media, specifically, Facebook, in mobilization. The analysis rests on 8,069 Facebook posts of four publicly active extreme-right groups, as well as 18 in-depth interviews with activists and experts. Frame analysis shows that extreme right groups try to align their narratives with public opinion, especially, homo- and transphobic and anti-immigration attitudes, as well as public distrust in political institutions, NGOs, and the media. Social network analysis, in turn, shows that the online network of the Georgian extreme right is decentralized, marked with a battle for influences in the emerging movement. In this loose network, actors with less radical and more populist ideology seem more central, whereas those with more extreme ideologies are more peripheral. Overall, the paper suggests that, given the lack of access to political institutions and mainstream media channels, extreme right groups in Georgia largely rely on Facebook to spread their narrative, garner support and mobilize for action.
- Language: English
- Place: Malmo, Sweden
- Event type: Conference
- Event name: 4th Annual Russia and the Caucasus Regional Research (RUCARR) Conference
- Event date: 22 Nov 2019