Ildikó Barna: Online Antisemitism during the Coronavirus Pandemic in Hungary

Online-Seminar mit:

  • Speaker: Ildikó Barna, Associate Professor of Sociology at Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE) Faculty of Social Sciences in Budapest where she also serves as a Head of the Department of Social Research Methodology.
  • Co-author: Árpád Knap
  • Chair: Grischa Stanjek, Director of Communications, IIBSA.

It is well-known that Jews have been accused many times throughout the history of deliberately spreading disease among non-Jews. After the outbreak of the coronavirus epidemic, these accusations revived, and conspiracy theories linking Jews to the virus appeared throughout the world. Low personal control and uncertainty, which have been undoubtedly present in the COVID pandemic, increases the belief not only in conspiracy theories in general but Jewish conspiracy theories in particular. In addition, in Hungary, as in other Visegrád countries, conspiratorial antisemitism is the strongest of all types of antisemitism.
In our research, on which our presentation is based, we analyzed a large text corpus of Hungarian online articles and comments/posts published between December 1, 2019, and July 10, 2020, looking for the answer to the research question of whether coronavirus-related antisemitic discourses appear in the Hungarian online space, and if so, what their content is. As our corpus contains a vast amount of unstructured textual data, we use quantitative topic models from the Natural Language Processing (NLP) toolkit to identify homogeneous thematic units of the corpus. After this, we analyzed the specific topics with qualitative tools to scrutinize the antisemitic narratives connected to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ildikó Barna is a sociologist and a survey statistician. She is an Associate Professor at ELTE University Faculty of Social Sciences (ELTE FSS) Budapest, where she also serves as Chair of the Department of Social Research Methodology. She is the co-leader of the Research Center for Computational Social Science at ELTE FSS. Her research topics include NLP in sociology, antisemitism, and xenophobia.

Árpád Knap is a survey statistician who started his Ph.D. in September 2018 at Eötvös Loránd University Faculty of Social Sciences (ELTE FSS). He is a researcher in the Researcher Center of Computational Social Science at ELTE FSS. His Ph.D. research topic is about the use of “big data” in the social sciences, with the methodological focus being on Natural Language Processing for dealing with large amounts of poorly structured textual data.

Diese Veranstaltung war Teil der Veranstaltungsreihe “Antisemitismus in Europa im Kontext von Verschwörungstheorien und Nationalismus” und Teil der “Bildungs- und Aktionswochen gegen Antisemitismus” in Kooperation mit der Amadeu Antonio Stiftung.