Social polarization from the protests in the framework of government instability

Project: Research

Project Details

Project summary

The objective of this research is to analyze the forms of representation of urban social protest through the Tik Tok and Twitter platforms during the context of social polarization in the framework of the governmental instability of the first Peruvian bicentennial government. For this, a sustained qualitative approach will be adopted in the socio-semiotic analysis that will take as a representative case the protests that occurred during 2021, which are framed in different events of political polarization. The corpus is composed of audiovisual and graphic content retrieved through qualitative data processing software. The hypothesis of the socio-semiotic analysis maintains that the treatment of the representation of the protest would empty the offline-active political content towards an online-contemplative-aesthetic content that would precarious the sense of public space. Thus, urban protest in Peru would prioritize commodification to the detriment of political dissidence; and consequently, he would prefer local reforms instead of complex transformations.


After two decades of intoxication due to the celebrations for the growth of the macroeconomic figures and the nation branding projects that implied the revaluation of the national, Peru has gone through a stage in which there seemed to be certain signifiers that summoned the pluralities in order to promote a more integrated country (Cuevas-Calderon, 2016; Cuevas-Calderón, 2019). However, this stage had neoliberalism as its motivator (Delgado, 2001), in which the difference was primarily celebrated through its commodification. After this, a tense calm spread for several years, and where being different was possible as long as it abdicated its political appearance, to the detriment of an economic one (Cánepa Koch, 2020; Lossio Chávez, 2019). In short, diversity, multiculturalism and tolerance were upheld as long as the status quo was not altered (Martuccelli, 2019).

However, this calm was interrupted after knowing the results of the presidential elections. The country that merged (at least from the perspective of the market) in a melting pot, was polarized between sides whose emblems were against something or someone (Dargent, 2021; Vergara, 2018; Villanueva Mansilla, 2021). In the midst of "Fujimori never again" or "Terrorism never again", the positions taken, facing not only the elections but also the ways of life, showed that this is not a country of all bloods, but that it is day by day, wider and more foreign (Ubilluz, 2021; Vich, 2021).
Although the reading from political science usually understands polarizations as a joint phenomenon to the electoral process, as a reflection of the governmental changes that are taking place in Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Peru, or simply as the rise of extremes, this research collects the challenges posed by the Social Sciences to venture to explore the question about the language that these polarizations acquire. Being a work whose epistemology is socio-semiotic, part of the advances generated by the Human Sciences, to focus on the forms of how social polarization becomes language, and with it, to ask how some signs are used to transmit certain messages (Bacallao Pino & Sanz Hernández, 2017; Harp & Bachmann, 2012; Leone, 2012; Muro-Ampuero & Bach, 2019).

In this sense, the most recent literature demands a close and inside approach to social polarization (Kurze, 2016; Marín Dueñas et al., 2019; Mendonca & Bustamante, 2020; Rozas Bugueño & Somma, 2020; Somma, Bargsted, & Sánchez, 2020), since by offering a perspective from afar and from the outside, procedures, ways of approaching, paying attention to details and fragments that can be obtained from a whole to offer a clue of a new understanding (Somma, 2021; Somma, Bargsted, Disi Pavlic, et al., 2020; Somma & Medel, 2019). Reason why, the semiotic approach seeks to contribute to the advances of social disciplines, of course, focusing on the production of language, rather than on its determinants, antecedents, or conditions of possibility. Consequently, an approach that expands from concentrating on signs, symbols, words, emblems, etc. (Cuevas-Calderón & Yalán Dongo, 2021).
Despite the fact that there is a vast literature that has examined social polarization, our research seeks to study it within the social protests in the framework of government instability as of July 28, 2020, in order to understand the signs used to enunciate polarization in protest. From our perspective, polarization can find various social manifestations, however, it is the protest that acquires a privileged interaction insofar as it achieves greater citizen participation, media representation and a condition of possibility for social transformation (Fillieule and Tartakowsky, 2015). Added to these characteristics is the media coverage of the protest through digital platforms, social networks and extensions of the virtualized protest. From here, the general research question is sustained: What are the forms of representation of urban social protest through Tik Tok and Twitter during the context of social polarization in the framework of government instability?
Effective start/end date1/04/221/04/23

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


  • Protest
  • social polarization
  • Semiotics
  • Tik Tok
  • Twitter
  • Peru

Research areas and lines

  • Languages ​​and speeches
  • Political processes
  • Citizenship

Kind of research

  • Applied


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.