Lega Nord and Anti-Immigrationism: The Importance of Hegemony Critique for Social Media Analysis and Protest
In this study, I implement Antonio Gramsci’s hegemony critique to analyze the anti-immigration rhetoric promoted by the Italian ultraright party Lega Nord [Northern League]. Specifically, this case study focuses on the discourse that developed on the microblogging site Twitter during the Stop Invasione [Stop Invasion] rally, organized by Matteo Salvini’s party on October 18, 2014, in Milan. I argue that hegemony critique is helpful to investigate political discourse on social media and to theorize the struggle surrounding contentious topics such as immigration. The method, which is multilayered and includes content analysis and interpretative analysis, allows for the exploration of a considerable data corpus but also an in-depth reading of each tweet. The result is a nuanced understanding of the anti-immigration discourse and of the discourse that developed in favor of immigration and in support of a countermarch, which progressive movements organized in response to Lega’s mobilization on the same day in Milan.