REDACT: Researching Europe, Digitalisation, and Conspiracy Theories
CHANSE (Collaboration of Humanities and Social Sciences in Europe)/ Hrvatska zaklada za znanost (HRZZ)
99.950,00 EUR (FPZG)
Opis i ciljevi projekta
Digital communication technologies enable the exchange, adaptation, and adoption of conspiracy theories at an unprecedented speed and scale, facilitating the creation of counter-publics joined by a propensity for malinformation. This is due not only to the ease of online micro publishing, but also to the infrastructural design of platforms that algorithmically identify potential audiences of niche content. Moreover, such platforms are based on data extractive business models that require a certain amount of content agnosticism and benefit from adversarial modes of communication.
Most research on conspiracy theories has focused on the US and, to a lesser extent, Western Europe. The REDACT project will analyse how digitalisation shapes the form, content, and consequences of conspiracy theories, including online sociality and offline actions and effects. Rather than see digitalisation as a process that has universal outcomes, REDACT considers online conspiracy theories and counter-publics in different European regions (Western Europe, Central Europe, the Baltics, and the Balkans) in order to make robust and nuanced recommendations about conspiracy theories—a particularly durable form of mal-information—for policy makers, media regulators, factchecking and extremism-monitoring organisations, as well as the internet companies themselves.
This will make a significant contribution to scholarship on conspiracy theories, first by displacing the focus on the US as the default, and second by situating digital communication technologies, platform affordances, and online sociality, at the centre of the enquiry. With a richer understanding of how conspiracy theories operate in the European online ecosystem, as well as monitoring their offline effects, we will be able to make informed recommendations to civil society stakeholders on how to deal with a problem that threatens to undermine trust in democracy, science, and even truth itself.
Nositelj aktivnosti na Fakultetu političkih znanosti
prof. dr. sc. Nebojša Blanuša (voditelj)