The study addresses central issues in contemporary politics in response to growing concern about the impoverishment of political discourse that has become increasingly uncivil. In particular it analhyzes citizens’ reactions to leaders’ uncivil posts on Facebook during the 2018 Italian General Election, by adopting a theoretical-operational model based on a dual approach (top down – bottom up) that examines the forms of adverse communication used by politicians online, and the consequences of these forms on users’ discussion (analyzing both ranking behaviors and users’ comments). Political incivility is operationalized as a multidimensional concept and specific types are proposed, starting from violations of norms of politeness (interpersonal-level) and proceeding to violation of public norms of civility (public-level). Results show that leaders’ use of uncivil messages trigger greater online participation, thus increasing the visibility of their posts. However, the emotional excitement elicited by these triggering forms of elite communication encourage antagonistic and rude behaviors among users, leading to an increase in uncivil comments and thus jeopardizing the quality of online discussion. Overall, it emerges that incivility combined with divisive issues can be thought of as a tool of communication used strategically by politicians to mobilize voters and to strengthen their political affiliation.

Rega, R., Marchetti, R. (2021). The strategic use of incivility in contemporary politics. The case of the 2018 Italian general election on Facebook. THE COMMUNICATION REVIEW, 1-26 [10.1080/10714421.2021.1938464].

The strategic use of incivility in contemporary politics. The case of the 2018 Italian general election on Facebook

Rossella Rega
;
2021-01-01

Abstract

The study addresses central issues in contemporary politics in response to growing concern about the impoverishment of political discourse that has become increasingly uncivil. In particular it analhyzes citizens’ reactions to leaders’ uncivil posts on Facebook during the 2018 Italian General Election, by adopting a theoretical-operational model based on a dual approach (top down – bottom up) that examines the forms of adverse communication used by politicians online, and the consequences of these forms on users’ discussion (analyzing both ranking behaviors and users’ comments). Political incivility is operationalized as a multidimensional concept and specific types are proposed, starting from violations of norms of politeness (interpersonal-level) and proceeding to violation of public norms of civility (public-level). Results show that leaders’ use of uncivil messages trigger greater online participation, thus increasing the visibility of their posts. However, the emotional excitement elicited by these triggering forms of elite communication encourage antagonistic and rude behaviors among users, leading to an increase in uncivil comments and thus jeopardizing the quality of online discussion. Overall, it emerges that incivility combined with divisive issues can be thought of as a tool of communication used strategically by politicians to mobilize voters and to strengthen their political affiliation.
2021
Rega, R., Marchetti, R. (2021). The strategic use of incivility in contemporary politics. The case of the 2018 Italian general election on Facebook. THE COMMUNICATION REVIEW, 1-26 [10.1080/10714421.2021.1938464].
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11365/1149148