HYBRA: Title: Racisms and public communications in the hybrid media environment

The project explores how racism is constituted, defined, circulated and challenged in today’s transnational media circuits and practices. The goal of the project is to understand the new forms of public engagements and affective experiences concerning racism in the hybrid media environment shaped by cooperation and conflict between older and newer media logics. The area of investigation is particularly topical now as the refugee crisis of 2015 continues to amplify the public debates on racism in Finland and Europe. By exploring the formations of racism in hybrid media the project gains information that is crucial for constructing civic society and social cohesion for the future of multicultural societies.

Previous research on racism has focused on the formations of the extreme right and the rise of populism in political communication or experiences of racism unrelated to media. There is a pressing need for an understanding of everyday racism and anti-racism, and the ways in which they are inescapably embedded in media practices in contemporary media-saturated societies.

The cross-disciplinary project applies cutting-edge methodology with an innovative combination of the computational and social sciences. An exceptionally large dataset collected from the Finnish online discussions including all media platforms and the main social media networks provides a unique opportunity for research synergy. The consortium is developing a method path from online dataset to qualitative research with rich combinations of methods from rhetoric analysis to multimodal semiotic analysis. The research path continues from qualitative analysis to live, experiential laboratory experiments created for the purposes of this project. Thus HYBRA is unique in its scope both nationally and internationally. The results will have a high academic impact on social cohesion and policy making, providing new knowledge and concrete steps to tackle problems of racism – with particular attention to addressing the new, more implicit and mediated forms of racism.

Consortium PI: Professor Kaarina Nikunen, University of Tampere
Consortium sub-project PI: Professor Mervi Pantti, University of Helsinki
Consortium sub-project PI: Professor Marko Turpeinen, Aalto University
Duration: 1.9.2016-31.12. 2019
Funded by the Academy of Finland.