Current social developments in Central Europe show trends of a continuously increasing polarisation of the society, hence inclination towards more radical solutions that may lead to violence. In our study of Value Based Conflicts in the regions between the Oder and Danube, we have identified and observed that even well intentioned events and activities (public discussions, online campaigns, and press releases) are sometimes conducted in counterproductive way and instead of contributing to solutions they contribute to further escalation of conflicts. In this, the online and offline worlds interact. Local events can trigger online polarisation and and vice versa. Online threats can spark negative local sentiments and aggression. Online hate speech and threats can encourage them to aggressive and even violent actions.
Through Project Grey, we aim to increase our understanding of the phenomena through analysing online debates on social platforms that spark massive attention and tend to polarise people. We aim to develop an online tool that will use Big data technology for the analyses and train youth leaders, social workers, community workers, and grassroots CSOs working on tolerance and social cohesion issues. Based on the big data and in cooperation with the trainees we will run public online campaigns that will offer more nuanced and less polarised narratives in difficult social value based conflicts. Our goal is to empower the middle ground of the society, people who have diverse opinions and values but are not deviating towards the violent extremes.
November 2018 – October 2020
Partners in the project Grey
This project is funded by the European Union’s Internal Security Fund — Police.