Guest edited by Gilles Favarel-Garrigues and Ioulia Shukan.
While this thematic issue of Laboratorium on vigilantism presents a variety of
methodological approaches, including media content analysis, semistructured interviews,
remote follow-up of vigilante activities on social networks, and even ethnographic
observation, some general suggestions may be drawn. First, as vigilantism
requires being visible and relies heavily on communication, its various communication
products (leaders’ statements, groups’ official communiqués, video or photo accounts
of actions, etc.), distributed largely on social networks, need to be taken seriously.
They are, of course, legitimation arguments and a response to vigilantes’ desire
to master their groups’ public image by letting various publics see only partial reality.
At the same time, they are also a good way of getting a sense of vigilantes’ practices,
their perceptions concerning their targets, their views on legitimate means of
action, and their justification for the use of coercion.