Predicting Escalation


An argument can be made that hateful rhetoric and group versus group conflict has increased in Canada in part due to the lack of identification in the Criminal Code of identity-based soft violence, thereby inadvertently providing perpetrators with the incentive to continue with their activities unpunished (Meyers, 2019). Kelshall has defined these unrecognized acts of hate as soft violence, which includes “actions that stop short of criminally identified violence...and highlight the superiority of one group over another without kinetic impact" (as cited in Kelshall & Meyers, 2019, p. 40). The damage created by soft violence is incalculable, as its harmful effects range from instilling fear within the individual victim or targeted identity-based group, to the polarization of society that damages cohesion within the general public (Kelshall & Meyers, 2019). Furthermore, it might be useful to consider the damage of soft violence on researchers of such content. Therefore, the Predicting Escalation research project first focuses on the impact of analyzing hateful content on the researchers themselves. The following progress report outlines the supportive literature, research challenges, and research findings that have been collated thus far.
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