Discussing the Populist Features of Anti-refugee Discourses on Social Media: An Anti-Syrian Hashtag in Turkish Twitter

Mehmet Gokay Ozerim, Juliette Tolay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article discusses whether it is possible to frame anti-refugee discourse on social media as a form of populism by analysing the case study of the hashtag #ulkemdesuriyeliistemiyorum (#IdontwantSyriansinmycountry), which emerged on Twitter in Turkey in 2016. Both network analysis and discourse analysis are used in order to delineate the characteristics of the tropes associated with the hashtag, to identify the existence of populist elements, as well as to scrutinize the linkage of the hashtag with the broader political context. The study shows that some elements of a populist discourse clearly exist (simple and popular discourse, anti-foreigner), while some others are missing (the existence of a leader). Most importantly, the discussion of the other elements (dichotomous views, othering and anti-elite) highlight the need to better conceptualize and contextualize these features to understand the connection between anti-elite (populism) and anti-foreigner discourses (nativism), the impact of tagged tropes such as a hashtag that can poke holes in echo chambers and the distinction between the concepts of anti-elitism and anti-establishment (especially in specific political contexts such as Turkey).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)204-218
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Refugee Studies
Volume34
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Political Science and International Relations

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