Crime Consumption and Online Hate Communities

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 7:01 PM
Room: Booth 58
Oral Presentation
Emma HOLKERI , University of Turku, Finland
Matti NÄSI , University of Turku, Finland
The starting point of the paper is in cultural criminologist Mike Presdee’s notion on crime and violence as commodities. According to this idea, not only the criminals, but also the police, the media and the citizens all participate in the creation of crime and consumption affects the creation of identities. Furthermore, previous studies show that violent perpetrators refer to shared cultural products (e.g. music, films) in order to actualise their existing violent thoughts, fantasies and ideologies. The idea of this paper is to observe the intertwined processes of committing, producing and consuming crimes in the context of online hate communities. The hypothesis following from Presdee’s argumentation is that the consumption process is vital for the identity construction of the hate group members.

The paper merges cultural criminology with the sociology of consumption, and methodologically quantitative with qualitative methods. Firstly, the paper analyses online content consumption, offering information about the most popular sites and the most read news online. Our assumption is that crime is at the top three categories. Secondly, a sample of a comprehensive online survey data consisting of 15–18-year old Finnish Facebook-users (n=723), collected in the spring of 2013, is used to describe how many young people face disturbing and hateful material online. Thirdly, examples of online hate groups are selected for a more detailed examination from the existing online hate communities glorifying severe violence. Fourthly, the sites of the selected community are analysed qualitatively to identify the processes of consuming crimes and constructing identities.