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Institut für Kommunikationswissenschaft und Medienforschung

Article by Daniela Mahl in "The Conversation"

In a recent article for The Conversation, Jing Zeng (Utrecht University) and Daniela Mahl (IKMZ) discuss how the rise of political polarization has given way to the “parallel economy” – a system that encompasses financial services, e-commerce websites, dating apps, and social media platforms that cater specifically to the right-wing movement. Zeng and Mahl explain this recent development as follows: Advocates of the “parallel economy” perceive “mainstream” media, financial institutions, and tech companies as oppressors of conservative voices, which is why they create and turn to “alternative” services and platforms that provide a safe space for content creators who feel silenced or have been penalized on “mainstream” platforms. Not only that, but the “parallel economy” capitalizes on conservatives’ sense of ideological victimhood, urging them to spend money on alternative products and services to counter what is perceived as a “woke” economy. Read more about the rise and specificities of the “parallel economy” here.