Call for Papers – Hate Speech and Emotions: Ideological and Epistemological Issues Conference

**Deadline Tuesday 15 October 2024**


Conference to be held 21-23 May 2025 in Grenoble, France

Draine (Hate and social breakdown: discourse and performativity) is a group of researchers in Language Sciences, working around hate speech and so-called radical discourse and the respective genres linked to them. The group was born in autumn 2016 out of the European H2020 Practicies project (Partnership Against Violent Radicalization Online in the Cities). It now has around 30 members from eight countries (Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany and Italy) and 18 institutions and universities, working together on research projects and publications. In October 2020, the Draine was awarded an ANR Montage de Réseau Scientifique Européens ou Internationaux (MRSEI) grant to prepare the submission of a funding application for a Horizon Europe project in 2022. In July 2022, the ARENAS (Analysis of and Responses to Extremist NArrativeS) project led by Julien Longhi was selected and several members of the Draine group have been working on it ever since.

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The last few years have been marked by the publication of numerous works on hate speech in the human and social sciences (Bianchi 2021, Droin 2018, Monnier et al. 2021, Petrilli 2020). In language sciences, the emphasis has been placed on how hatred is put into words (Moïse et al. 2021), on argumentative and rhetorical strategies used by speakers (Hart 2021, Micheli 2010, Reisigl and Wodak 2015, Vernet and Määttä 2023), on the performativity of hate speech and its social implications (Määttä, 2023), taking into account group relationships (Baider and Constantinou 2020, Balirano and Hughes 2020), ideological dimensions and enunciation contexts (Longhi and Vernet 2023, Retta 2023). With regard to works stemming from other disciplines (among others Delaplace 2009, Moïsi 2009, Négrier and Faure 2017), the issue of emotions related to hate speech appears to be less documented in language sciences. While the pathemic dimension has been the subject of certain studies, particularly as a defining characteristic of direct hate speech (Lorenzi Bailly and Moïse 2021), the role and place of affects in the analysis of hate speech and its categorization remain to be explored further.

Hatred, understood as a “sad passion” (Spinoza 1677 [2007]), is carried by emotions – anger, fear, disgust, shame, resentment, among others – that are addressed towards another being (converted into the object of the hatred) and activated by wounds, among individual histories, socio-political contexts, and ideological conflicts. These emotions then pass through hatreds which are expressed in discourse according to different modalities (Lorenzi Bailly and Moïse 2023). Emotions can be manifested through “ statements of emotion ” (Plantin 2011) which directly utters what is felt (“I am devastated”) in an axiological way (“that is outrageous”) or even “ volcanic ” (Beebe 1995) or “ not contained ” (Culperer 2011) towards others. Furthermore, the pathemic expression in discourse, which will push the speaker to provoke anger, contempt or pity, allows hatred to circulate, if not to amplify it. Emotions are also expressed through the recounting of an event (Rimé 2009) and these aim to share what cannot be retained in lively reactions where indignation and oppositions are expressed, as well as injustices and inequalities. Hate speech then questions what is at the center of social concerns.

By means of a critical perspective (Guedj et al. 2022), this conference aims to further question the link between hate speech and emotions by investigating its social and ideological reach, along with the articulation of the individual and collective dimensions of hatred. In a time of political and social tensions on both sides, in a neoliberal system which values ​​certain forms of extimacy (Tisseron 2011), how and according to which modalities do emotions take part in the making of hate speech ?What are the speeches taken up by hatred, by whom are they conveyed and for what purposes? If we consider that it is not the affects themselves that circulate, but the objects to which they are attached (Ahmed 2014), what is the role of emotions in the circulation of hate speech and what are the consequences of this phenomenon? Finally, what do these speeches say about the (social and ideological) changes underway, and based on what emotional manifestations?

This conference also envisions questioning the emotional implications of using the label “hate speech”. What is the ideological aspect of this tag? What can its use lead to? What does it drive one to utter and in whose interests? Since this label is also used by the scientific community, these same questions also seem important to be posed in relation to our research practices and, more broadly, with regard to the practices of all the protagonists who use it.

Contributions may fall into one or more of the following axes of work:

Axis 1. Emotions in discourse

This first axis aims to bring together works setting its sights on the ways in which affects shape hate speech. To what extent is the study of emotions relevant to understanding and identifying hate speech and its underlying social and ideological processes? What are the different ways of approaching and capturing emotions in discourse? What epistemological articulations with other notions of discourse analysis (ideology, narrativity, circulation, etc.)? How can one take into account the diversification of the expression of emotions and their pluri-semiotic character (animated or non-animated image, video, emoticon, etc.)? What discourse/image articulations do these new practices impose on the analyst? Finally, how is the hateful aspect of discourse established from this interaction?

Axis 2. Emotions, politics and ideologies

We live in a period of history that values ​​the expression of everyone’s emotions and opinions – political or otherwise – and where political figures can directly interact with their supporters and opponents, particularly on social networking services. In this context, we question the way in which these emotions participate in extreme manifestations of exclusion, minorisation and discrimination, between expression and presentation of oneself. How does the analysis of emotions in discourse allow one to better understand how opinions and ideological positions are shaped and polarized? Moreover, how is the act of hateful political utterance, wherever it comes from? Conversely, what are the conditions and constraints for an act of political utterance to constitute hate speech? Additionally, what are the conditions and constraints that mediate the confrontation between freedom of expression and the political desire to identify and regulate hate speech? And how can such a notion be occasionally instrumentalized in the media and political sphere?

Axis 3. Epistemological and reflective dimension

Working on a sensitive and emotionally charged subject such as hate speech compels analysts to question their commitment and their (moral, political, scientific) responsibilities. As a matter of fact, qualifying a speech as hateful and then analyzing its mechanisms stems from a choice which, although generally based on precise criteria (legal, linguistic, etc.), implies a certain stance. Likewise, the goals of the analysis, for example proposing a counter-discourse or an alternative discourse, intervening in the public space or offering training, reflect the will of the researchers, their commitment and, at times, their activism. This third axis will welcome communications devoted to the reflective dimension of the analysis of hate speech and the relation of analysts to their subject. How can we question our own practice as researchers? How can we reconcile the emotional aspect that accompanies all research, particularly in sensitive areas, as well as the desire for a certain objectification of the discourses analyzed? Amongst distancing, commitment, and activism, what is the role of researchers who work on hate speech?


Proposal languages: French, Italian, English.

Proposals must be submitted before October 15, 2024. The decisions will be informed on December, 2024 and the conference program will be released in early 2025.

In addition to individual submissions, proposals for thematic panels are encouraged. Abstracts must be 350 words long and with 5 references at most; for panels, in addition to the general abstract, each of its proposal it must be briefly presented (title + 200 words). All proposals will be subject to a double-blind evaluation by members of the scientific committee. The steering committee, in agreement with the panel coordinators, may eventually add proposals initially conceived as individual, within a panel, for the sake of thematic consistency.

The selected proposal will last 20 minutes and will be followed by 10 minutes of discussion. The conference will take place exclusively in-person.


Find more information and submit your proposal here:

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