Association for Political and Legal Anthropology
American Ethnological Society
Cosponsored - Oral Presentation Session
We live in an era of global populism, characterized by xenophobia, speech that incites violence on social media, and an escalation in hate crimes. In the United States, the First Amendment is showing signs of severe strain as research reveals the connection between hate speech on social media and hate crimes. One of the central frailties of incitement law is the lack of guidance on how to evaluate whether a speech act is likely to prompt an imminent offence. This paper draws on social research to construct a systematic evidence-based framework for analyzing the risk that inciting speech will result in imminent lawless action. The proposed matrix is then applied to Sines v. Kessler, a civil suit arising from the events in Charlottesville in 2017.