Free speech, hate speech, and the problem of (Manufactured) authority



Publication Details

Sorial, S. (2014). Free speech, hate speech, and the problem of (Manufactured) authority. Canadian Journal of Law and Society, 29 (1), 59-75.

Link to publisher version (URL)

Cambridge Journals

Additional Publication Information

iFirst 7 October 2013


In this paper, I suggest that the concept of incitement as a way of identifying hate speech sometimes locates the harm caused by speech in the wrong sorts of places. Hate speech expressed in the form of “reasoned argument” or academic debate by persons with the relevant authority or expertise potentially causes more harm, though perhaps in less obvious ways. Literature on the concept of authority has demonstrated the way authoritative speakers or speakers with perceived expertise are able to secure uptake for their views. In this paper, I demonstrate how authority and expertise can also be manufactured, enabling speakers to secure uptake in the same sorts of ways as legitimately authoritative or expert speakers. While I am not suggesting legal penalties for speakers who manufacture authority in these ways, I am arguing that we should nevertheless be sensitive to the ways in which this can occur, how it might cause various kinds of harm, and how these harms might be mitigated.

Please refer to publisher version or contact your library.



Link to publisher version (DOI)