ARENAS Featured at 46th Annual Meeting of the German Society for Linguistics (DGfS)

The most recent Annual Meeting of the German Society for Linguistics (DGfS) took place at Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) between 28 February and 01 March 2024.  ARENAS consortium members from HHU Düsseldorf and CY Cergy Paris Université participated in the conference.

A total of 14 workshops and 4 plenary talks investigated language from a variety of perspectives. The theme of the conference – Language and Attitude – focused on one of the most crucial functions of language. Language is one of the most important, probably even the most important means to express attitudes, personal attitudes such as desires, needs, or preferences and public attitudes such as political beliefs.

One of the 14 Workshops, “The language of extremist narratives: cross-disciplinary approaches”, was organised by Ana Yara Postigo Fuentes, Stefan Hartmann, Rolf Kailuweit, Alexander Ziem from HHU Düsseldorf, who are members of the ARENAS consortium.

Recent years have arguably seen an unprecedented rise in the spread of extremist narratives. Crises such as the Covid-19 pandemic or the war in Ukraine have fostered misinformation and conspiracy theories across different countries. This workshop aimed at bringing together researchers from different disciplines investigating the language of extremist narratives from a broad variety of theoretical and methodological perspectives. It discussed how exactly extremist narratives can be defined, how they are conveyed linguistically, and which methodological approaches are appropriate for studying extremist narratives.

Dimitra Niaouri, a Ph. D student at CY Cergy Paris Université, also participated at the conference.  Her work examines ‘New Generation DL/ML Models for Extreme Narrative Detection in the Online Social Discourse’. Her research is integrated into the Horizon Europe ARENAS project coordinated by CY Cergy Paris Université and aims to contribute to Work Package 2 dedicated to the definition, identification and detection of extremist narratives. (

Her PhD thesis aims to study the characterisation, modelling and automatic detection of extremist narratives. Specifically, she argues that the analysis of extremist narratives should not only be seen from a radicalisation/terrorism viewpoint, for which rich Machine Learning (ML) literature already proposes multiple solutions. It observes that extremist narratives must be studied in a more general context that concerns different kinds of values such as people, democracy, citizenship, rights, etc., which do not necessarily assume violent or hateful sentiments.

Speaking afterwards, Stefan Hartmann of HHU Düsseldorf commented, “The workshop was a great opportunity to disseminate the results that we have obtained so far in the ARENAS project and to discuss the ARENAS topics with many other colleagues who are working on similar issues.”

Further information on the conference is available on their website.


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