← Volume 12: Challenges and Perspectives of Hate Speech Research


The Role of Context in Incivility Research

Anna Litvinenko

Berlin, 2023
DOI 10.48541/dcr.v12.5 (SSOAR)

Abstract: Incivility is a concept with a wide scope of interpretations, ranging from impoliteness to aggressive and extremist speech. The definition of uncivil speech is highly context-sensitive, and this contextual sensitivity should be considered in future research. In this chapter, I argue that choosing to omit context from incivility research may result in the diffusion of authoritarian norms in online content regulation and negatively influence freedom of speech in different sociopolitical settings. I suggest considering four layers of context in incivility research: (1) sociocultural context (the macro level), (2) sociopolitical context (the macro level), (3) organizational context (the meso level), and (4) situational context (the micro level). I elaborate on each level’s role in defining and regulating uncivil speech, and I conclude by suggesting paths for future research.


Anna Litvinenko is a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for Media and Communication Studies at Freie Universität Berlin, Germany. ORCID logo

Litvinenko, A. (2023). The role of context in incivility research. In C. Strippel, S. Paasch-Colberg, M. Emmer, & J. Trebbe (Eds.), Challenges and perspectives of hate speech research (pp. 73-85). Digital Communication Research. https://doi.org/10.48541/dcr.v12.5

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