The Semiotic Construction of Identities in Hypermedia Environments: The Analysis of Online Communication of the Estonian Extreme Right

My dissertation consists of six articles and the framing chapter. The framing
chapter begins with introducing the problem of online identity-creation and lays
bare the tendency of the formation of vernacular webs, which are opposed to
dominant media and state authorities. I point out the major reasons as to why it
is relevant, and highly topical, to study the extreme right grass-roots communities
and their prevalent ways of meaning-making. I also outline the main characteristics
that need to be present for defining some content as being extreme
right. The next sub-chapter gives a brief overview of the research, which has
concentrated on the extreme right communication and identity-creation. I highlight
the works of the critical discourse analysis, cultural studies and semiotics
and bring focus on certain papers that have concentrated on the specifics of the
extreme right online communication. Then I summarize the main purposes and
research emphases of my dissertation. I also explicate the reasons as to why it is
fruitful to apply the frameworks of cultural semiotics for comprehending the
processes of identity-creation of the contemporary extreme right. The next subchapter
introduces the sources that have been analyzed in my papers. I explain
why I concentrated on the particular web pages and how the style and the content
of the observed sources transformed during the years of my studies. Then I
elucidate the reasons why I decided to use the non-participatory covert observation
(as one of my research methods) and also unveil certain ethical dilemmas,
which accompany my research. Finally, I present short summaries of the
papers of this dissertation and envisage some possible future directions for my

Tags: Discourse Analysis, Extreme Right, Forums, Social Media