Incivility as a Violation of Communication Norms—A Typology Based on Normative Expectations toward Political Communication

  • Bormann M
  • Tranow U
  • Vowe G
  • et al.
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Abstract

Research on incivility in political communication usually defines uncivil communication as a violation of established norms. Few studies, however, have specified these norms and corroborated them using relevant theoretical concepts. This article aims at strengthening the foundations of incivility research by analytically reconstructing the potential normative expectations of communication participants toward the behavior of others in offline and online political communication. We propose that these expectations can be considered as communication norms, which enable cooperative communication in political debates and conflicts. We use action theory, evolutionary anthropology, and linguistics to propose a norm concept that differentiates five communication norms: an information norm, a modality norm, a process norm, a relation norm, and a context norm. Drawing on these norms, we propose new definitions of incivility and civility. We also provide a comprehensive typology of norm violations that can be used as a heuristic for empirical research.

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Bormann, M., Tranow, U., Vowe, G., & Ziegele, M. (2021). Incivility as a Violation of Communication Norms—A Typology Based on Normative Expectations toward Political Communication. Communication Theory. https://doi.org/10.1093/ct/qtab018

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