A Study of Hate Speech in the North and South: Politicians as Communicative Agents

Stéphane Rodrigues Dias[1] & Phoebe Kisubi Mbasalaki[2]

[1]  Federal Institute of Education, Science, and Technology Uruguaiana, Brazil, Email: stephane.dias@iffarroupilha.edu.br Orcid: orcid.org/0000-0002-5519-125

[2]  African Gender Institute, University of Cape Town, South Africa, Email: phoebe.mbasalaki@uct.ac.za Orcid: orcid.org/0000-0003-2538-8198


Hate speech as a political tool of extremism has been on the rise in the Global North and Global South. Its appeal gains audience, support, and strength every day in numerous countries. The geographical spaces may be different, but the geopolitical social locations of groups, members, and individuals reveal similar inequalities and aggressions. Considering this context, we intend to contribute with an assessment of hate speech via a case study – a politician’s statements in the Netherlands with a brief parallel with a Brazilian scenario. Centrally, our paper approaches two different domains of hate speech. One domain of hate speech is its discursive framing, taken as a major source of representations, and the other is its interpretation in the context of legal systems. Agency is what connects the two domains. That is, we will address institutional agents and legal interpretation of politicians’ speeches. To have an understanding of the subject matter, we need to understand the collective representations involved. In simple terms, we connect (legal) interpretation and (collective) representation to deal with hate speech cases performed by agents. These agents are addressed in hate speech laws both within the Netherlands and within the UN – also considering speech aggression in the Brazilian political scenario. Finally, addressing the agents and the framed speech acts involved seem to be relevant steps to broaden our understanding of the criminalization of hate speech and its propagation inside human societies, observing that we can resignify our frames and the agents around us as part of a bigger community.

Keywords: Hate Speech, Political Agents, Communicative Agency, Extremism, Islamophobia


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