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Dr. Philip Seargeant (The Open University): Complementary genres of disinformation: conspiracy theories and ‘fake news’

Contact person: Ushma Chauhan Jacobsen (ucj@cc.au.dk)

2021.02.08 | Pia Gjermandsen

Date Thu 08 Apr
Time 15:30 16:45
Location Zoom

This talk will look at the relationship between two distinct but related forms of disinformation currently widespread in political discourse: ‘fake news’ and conspiracy theories. Both play a significant role in the promotion and circulation of forms of false information which are considered a threat to civil society. They are both frequently co-opted as means of political persuasion, often for propagandistic purposes. And both flourish particularly in the communications environment afforded by social media. Both ‘conspiracy theory’ and ‘fake news’ are also highly contested terms, whose use is discouraged in certain contexts, and yet which persist in popular discourse as shorthand for a complex of contemporary phenomena (Seargeant, 2020).

Despite these many similarities, the two exist as distinct genres of disinformation, and the aim of the talk will be to analyse the nature of the similarities and differences between them in order to provide a more nuanced picture of the role they both play in contemporary politics. It will focus in particular on the discursive strategies they use to legitimize specific forms of knowledge, particularly as these are centred around different forms of ‘authority’, along with the way these strategies are then embedded in broader narratives about the distribution of power within society (Barkun, 2003).

Zoom: https://aarhusuniversity.zoom.us/j/63589590935

Speech, Kulturelle Transformationer