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Exploring Skinhead Identity and Culture Through a Content Analysis of Skinhead Webpages and Social Network Pages

Case
By: Robin Maria Valeri, Nicole Sweazy & Kevin Borgeson Published: 2018 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 2
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Abstract

Content analysis was used to analyze skinhead identity and culture on webpages and social network pages. Ten years previously, Kevin Borgeson and Robin Valeri had conducted a project on this topic, examining skinhead identity as presented on the Internet. While conducting research for a chapter on the use of hate as a weapon, it became evident that the skinhead movement was not only still in existence but also a global phenomenon, with skinheads in countries across at least three continents. Because our research for the hate chapter focused on racist/nationalist skinheads, it made us wonder whether other non-racist skinhead groups still existed, thus sparking a desire for us to replicate our previous study. In this case study, we discuss how we formulated our research question and selected the material to be examined. Some of the challenges faced when conducting a content analysis based on information gathered from the Internet are discussed. Specific attention is paid to why webpages and social network pages were chosen over other types of social media. Also discussed are the strategy and rationale for selecting the search engines and social networks as well as the strategy for locating specific skinhead webpages and social network pages. Then issues related to coding are examined. Finally, general data analysis techniques are discussed, including how these were applied to our content analysis to draw inferences about skinhead culture and identity; skinheads’ use of the web and social networks also are presented.

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