The Normalization of Hatred: Identity, Affective Polarization, and Dehumanization on Facebook in the Context of Intractable Political Conflict

Harel, Tal Orian; Jameson, Jessica Katz; Maoz, Ifat
Social Media and Society

Our study uses a qualitative analysis of social media discourse on a Facebook page to demonstrate how the phenomena of affective polarization and dehumanization are manifested through participation in a homogeneous enclave, or echo chamber. We employ Northrup’s theory of identity in intractable conflict to show how users express their desire for psychological and physical separation from the other and use dehumanizing language that normalizes potentially dangerous levels of hatred during their participation on a Facebook page. This study contributes to our understanding of the link between identity, affective polarization, and dehumanization.