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Welcome to the 2019 New Zealand Political Studies Association Annual Conference

"Security, Community, Humanity"

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Friday, November 29 • 11:00am - 12:30pm
Keynote Address - Free Speech, Hate Speech and Discrimination

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Democratic states are experiencing significant hate speech, led in some instances by parliamentary representatives and sections of the media, and facilitated by social media. Yet most of these same states have hate speech legislation that seeks to proscribe speech-based conduct that harms sufficiently to warrant a policy response. Globally, different countries have adopted enormously varied legal and regulatory responses, and public debate about ‘hate speech’ also displays enormous variety in understandings of the concept. This has led to a significant degree of confusion over what hate speech is, what its harms are, how it can harm, who can be harmed by it, and what to do about this complex problem. In this address I will trace a path through these complexities. First, utilising a combination of speech-act theory and a capabilities approach, I will outline what hate speech is and – more importantly – what hate speech does. I will show how hate speech is itself an act of discrimination that harms its target communities, the community more broadly, and democratic discourse by resetting the terms of debate. I will flesh this discussion out with empirical data derived from my work with communities targeted by hate speech. Finally, I will consider appropriate responses to hate speech conceived in this way.

avatar for Jeremy Moses

Jeremy Moses

University of Canterbury

avatar for Katharine Gelber

Katharine Gelber

Head of the School of Political Science and International Studies, and Professor of Politics and Public Policy, University of Queensland
Katharine Gelber is Head of the School of Political Science and International Studies, and Professor of Politics and Public Policy, at the University of Queensland. Her research is in the field of freedom of speech, and the regulation of public discourse. She has been awarded several... Read More →

Friday November 29, 2019 11:00am - 12:30pm NZDT
E9 Engineering Core