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Article

Dehumanizing political others: a discursive-material perspective

In his recent book The Discursive-Material Knot, [Carpentier, N. (2017). The discursive-material Knot: Cyprus in conflict and community media participation. New York: Peter Lang]. Nico Carpentier identifies three nodal points of antagonistic discourse: the need for destruction of the enemy, homogenization of the self as opposed to the enemy, and the radical difference of the enemy. The latter appears when the self and the other are thought to be irreconcilably at odds, and the enemy is presented as inferior. In the more extreme cases, this radical othering leads to a dehumanization and demonization of the other, which makes the destruction of the enemy easier. Using post-Maidan social confrontation within Ukraine and its Facebook discussions as a case study, this paper analyzes how exactly the radical othering and subsequent dehumanization of the enemy is discursively structured, and describe the conditions under which such extreme manifestations of conflict could be eliminated with the ultimate goal of transforming antagonistic into agonistic discourse.