Fighting back with words: How mainstream parties can effectively respond to hate speech

This project examines how mainstream parties can counter the rhetoric of right-wing populists so as to weaken their appeal.

Using Germany as a case study, the research team will evaluate different strategies employed by German mainstream parties to counteract divisive rhetoric of the right-wing populist party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD).

Drawing on previous research, the project will focus on four ‘anti-hate-speech’ strategies:

  • appealing to generally accepted liberal norms;
  • extending the in-group to migrants by perspective-taking,
  • countering  AfD claims with information
  • diversion by directing the attention to another issue.

These strategies will be tested experimentally. It is anticipated that the effect of these strategies will, in part, be mediated by the regional context in which respondents are embedded.