Autocommunicative meaning-making in online communication of the Estonian extreme right

Mari-Liis Madisson, Andreas Ventsel


This article analyses the online communication of the Estonian extreme right that appears to be characterized by an echo-chamber effect as well as enclosed and hermetic meaning-making. The discussion mainly relies on the theoretical frameworks offered by semiotics of culture.

One of the aims of the article is to widen the scope of understanding of autocommunicative processes that are usually related to learning, insight and innovation. The article shows the conditions in which autocommunicative processes result in closed interactions, based on reproducing stereotypes and redundant content. We detect antithetical meaning-making, an orientation towards normative (“correct”) texts and the prevalence of phatic communication as the main dominants that guide closed autocommunication. Such communication leads to polarization of dissimilar views and hinders dialogue. Our case study focuses on the discussion that arose in the context of the European Refugee Crisis that started in spring 2015.


autocommunication; phatic communication; echo-chamber effect; semiotics of culture; online communication of the Estonian extreme right; European Refugee Crisis

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SIGN SYSTEMS STUDIES. ISSN 1406-4243 (print), 1736-7409 (online). E-mail: Postal address: Sign Systems Studies, Dept. of Semiotics, University of Tartu, Jakobi St. 2, 51014 Tartu, Estonia