Society for Linguistic Anthropology
Oral Presentation Session
This paper brings theories of mock language to bear on pluirilinguistic practices in online communities; specifically the language of the online, far right forum r/the_donald. Looking at how other people’s language is used to manufacture the illusion of the ordinary, everyday, subject of populist discourses (Wodak 2015). This paper brings work on transgressive linguistic fluidity (ie Sultana 2015) together with Hill’s Everyday Language of White Racism (1998, 2009) to understand identity work on the digital right — their everyday language of white nationalism.
The right consciously uses multiple linguistic repertories to create images of the dangerous other, moral panics over culture change, and transnational nationalist communities. This paper explores how users of r/the_donald manipulate the boundaries between thick and thin identities; thin identities as plurilingual speakers construct thick identities as English only, wall building “winners” (as they describe themselves), satirical representations of thin identities to reinforce and produce their thick identities as white nationalists. I analyze the ways the mock language and thin identity is used to portray radicalized others and corrupt elites, to produce new identities as right wing white nationalists - the ways in which linguistic identity work is used for white identity politics.