"The Role of Political Hate Speech in Promoting Extreme Ideologies and Manipulating Public Discourse for Social Approval in Pakistan"

Event Date: 

Wednesday, November 15, 2023 - 11:00am to 12:00pm

Event Date Details: 

Location: CITS Conference Room (SSMS 1310E)

About the Speaker:
Professor Muhammad Shaban Rafi, is currently a CITS Visiting Researcher for the year 2023. He is a Professor of English at Riphah International University, Pakistan. His interdisciplinary research interests seek solutions to current societal problems through the lens of language. 


Presentation Abstract:

The proliferation of politically motivated hate speech towards rival politicians has been rapidly increasing in Pakistan. However, the literature on political hate speech and its association with extreme ideologies is under-theorized in the Pakistani context. We have utilized van Dijk's (2006) manipulative discourse and Walther's social approval theory (2022) to structure political hate speech and its consequences. The data was based on two Pakistani mainstream politicians' public speeches and partisans' comments available on YouTube. Findings reveal that politicians commonly exploit discursive categories, such as name-calling, offensive metaphors, and sarcasm, in their hate speech to dehumanize, ridicule, and threaten their rivals. Their hateful slurs showcase extreme ideologies, such as polarization, intolerance, threat, and violence. They use the hateful epithets to manipulate partisans, to sell fear of being betrayed and enslaved to the military and foreign powers to obtain, in exchange, audience and consent. The study theorizes that Pakistani mainstream politicians deliberately sensationalize hatred in their public speeches to harangue their rivals and foment extreme ideologies for the purpose of increasing their audience.