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Graphik: Bulletpoint Abstracts issue 1/2020 (English)

Liriam Sponholz: The Concept “Hate Speech” in German-speaking Research. An Empirical Conceptual Analysis

Since the so-called “refugee crisis” of 2015, the concept of “hate speech” has been in the spotlight in German-speaking countries. On the one hand, this development brought more attention to the problem, but on the other hand, it also has led to a greater loss of clarity surrounding this already polysemic concept, which, in turn, unleashed an array of social and political consequences. This article aims to investigate what “hate speech” in German-speaking academic research means: Are the researchers applying the same definition, coined originally by the critical race theory, or are they working with different concepts? Sartori’s approach to conceptual analysis (1984) was utilized for a content analysis of German-language academic texts published between 1994 and 2018 (n = 213). Results show that although the concept of critical race theory is being widely mentioned, the term “hate speech” was employed ambiguously in the German-speaking academic research. The main problem stems from the confusion between hate speech and online harassment.

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