Struggles for moral value and the reproduction of gendered and racialised hierarchies in online discussions of violence
Venäläinen, Satu; Virkki, Tuija (2019). Struggles for moral value and the reproduction of gendered and racialised hierarchies in online discussions of violence. Sociological Review, 67 (6), 1367-1382. DOI: 10.1177/0038026119866635
Published inSociological Review
© 2019 SAGE publications
The article examines online discussions in Finland that focus on violence committed by Finnish women, on one hand, and non-white migrant men, on the other. Drawing on the perspective of sociology of value, the article illustrates how these discussions function as sites of struggles over moral worth in a contemporary context characterised by crises of both male and white hegemony. The authors suggest that, through the discussions, these current crises are projected on migrant men and certain groups of women, who thereby become construed as morally reprehensible. The analysis sheds light on processes of (re-)legitimating the moral virtue historically attached to both masculinity and whiteness, and thereby shows how gendered and racialised hierarchies are reproduced in the context of meaning-making around the issue of violence. Also discussed is how these dynamics and the process of reproduction via discourse draw upon historically recurring meanings and evaluations while simultaneously tailored to contemporary circumstances. The tailoring is performed via explicit reference to the value of gender equality, which serves a dual function: re-inscribing moral value in white masculinity while excluding from the circuits of value both racialised masculinities and Finnish women portrayed as doing gender and whiteness in the ‘wrong’ way. These processes give the discussants room for justifying hate and violent exclusion of such women and migrant men while also muting any dissenting voices attempting to resist circulation of the derogatory meanings. ...