We investigate how users on a prominent forum for white supremacists interpreted and framed two seminal events for the far-right in the U.S., the elections of Obama in 2008 and Trump in 2016. These cases precipitated dramatic shifts in the far-right alliance and conflict structure. We combine computational methods and qualitative analysis on a corpus of over ten million posts on Stormfront.org to show how movement actors framed institutional changes and constructed them as opportunities for action. We highlight grassroots framing, the collective and contested bottom-up processes through which external events are framed and reframed by online activists and thus shaped into opportunities for action. Our research demonstrates how users shifted from framing Obama’s election as a threat, to framing it as a “victory in disguise,” creating new opportunities for political action through extraparliamentary methods. Similarly, users framed Trump's election as creating possibilities for radical change through the established political system.
Subject classification (UKÄ)
- Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)