Master of Arts Dautartas Gintaras

120000 €

Controversies of Hate Speech Regulation in Lithuania: A Critical Cognitive Linguistic Study

Tieteellinen tutkimus / siihen pohjautuva työ | Nelivuotinen

Hate speech as a term has multiple, ambiguous, and even competing definitions which might expose it to political manipulations. Good examples of this are three legal cases in Lithuania: 1) a left-wing activist protesting against official immigration politics and the maltreatment of refugees by hanging a poster saying “deport the government” was prosecuted for inciting hate toward state officials; 2) a same-sex couple had their request to initiate investigation for online harassment denied and the blame shifted on them for their “eccentric behavior”; 3) a fairy tale book depicting two same-sex couples was accused of desecrating “traditional family values” and withdrawn from bookstores. Thus, in my doctoral dissertation I will analyse a corpus composed of political, legal, and media texts directly related to these three legal cases and to hate speech in general through the framework of Cognitive Linguistic Critical Discourse Analysis (a recent blend of cognitive theories on language and critical methodologies of text analysis). By doing so I aim to create an account of how specific linguistic strategies shaping our ideas on hate speech affect and restrict speech that does not conform to the dominant ideologies of Lithuania. While this research project is focused on Lithuanian politics, its results will be significant for the international community, let alone Finland, as a critique of hate speech beyond the clear-cut opposition between "political correctness" and "free speech"