Beyond pandemic populism: COVID-related cultures of rejection in digital environments, a case study of two Austrian online spaces

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Opratko’s article presents the results of a discourse-centred online ethnography, tracing the articulations of COVID-related debates against the wider backdrop of ‘cultures of rejection’ among members of online communities based in Austria. During the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ‘corona question’ emerged as a particularly contentious topic in Austria, both in official politics and on the level of everyday discourse. It not only reinforced accusatory attitudes towards ‘traditional’ Others, such as migrants or the unemployed, but also produced new articulations that cut across traditional left-right distinctions and new sociocultural rifts related to the acceptance or rejection of anti-pandemic measures. Finally, Opratko argues that, in COVID-related cultures of rejection, we find efforts to counter a perceived crisis of authority performatively constructing specific forms of counter-authorities, and a high level of political activity both online and offline.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPatterns of Prejudice
Issue number4-5
Pages (from-to)297-314
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Research, authorship and/or publication of this article was supported by the VW Foundation’s ‘Challenges for Europe’ Program, Grant Number 94 765.

Funding Information:
This part of our research was conducted as part of the additional module CuRe-COV, funded by the Volkswagen Foundation, dedicated to investigating Cultures of Rejection in the COVID crisis.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

    Research areas

  • Sociology - Austria, COVID-19, cultures of rejection, populism, protest movements, social media