Negotiating Normality: Using Digital Media to Combat the Stigma and Perceptions of Islam in the West


In the aftermath of a terrorist attack on an Islamic community in New Zealand, how has the stigma and perceptions of the West about Islam impacted the reaction of audiences? Drawing on Tweets (Twitter) and the statements of Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, this paper explores how individuals construct their messages to establish a discourse that aspires to blend Islam into the “norm” of Western ideas and values. Applying the Goffman framework, we observe how the two compose their messages to resist the West’s stigma and perceptions of Islam and plea to being “normal.” Specifically, attention is placed on how normality is constructed through the presentation of Muslim’s place of worship, mosques, and their communities. A qualitative textual analysis revealed different interpretations of how these places of worship and their communities identify “normalness” in an attempt to de-stigmatize the negative construction of Islam in the West. Therefore, we consider how these interpretations produce normality amongst a perceived stigma of Islam in the West in the aftermath of a terrorist attack.



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Journal of Media and Religion