Post-Truth Politics (PTP)

Post-truth politics, nationalism and the (de-)legitimation of European integration (PTP) is a research network that aims to address the possible impact of ‘fake news’, disinformation and ‘post-truth politics’ on the legitimation and delegitimation of European integration.

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About the project

Fake news, disinformation and manipulation of the media are widely perceived to constitute a fundamental challenge to modern liberal-representative democracies. In an era of post-truth politics, digital media has increasingly replaced traditional legacy media as the most important source and venue of political information and communication.

This is a fundamental shift since information online is often unverified by gatekeepers at news outlets. Information spreads without professional input from journalists. This proliferation of digital media therefore raises concerns about the quality of democratic discourse, since it can be used for manipulative purposes to spread false and unfiltered information, and potentially affect the electoral decisions of citizens in liberal democracies.

This is a particular challenge in terms of the possible impact of disinformation on public support for the European project as such. Especially since the lingering democratic deficit debate in the EU has identified lack of knowledge about the functioning of the European institutions as one of the key problems regarding the democratic legitimation of the EU. In other words, if there is a lack of knowledge to begin with, then the possible impact of disinformation is heightened.

In addition, the project will address the related topic of why disinformation appears to have such an appeal to nationalist and/or populist actors on the far right and examine whether similar strategies are visible on the left of the political spectrum. These actors often identify the European Union as the root cause of many of the ‘evils’ that nationalist movements claim to tackle. In this regard, European integration is seen as a fundamental attack on the imagined community of the sovereign nation state.

Objectives

The central objective of the project is to analyze, through a series of case studies, both the extent and possible impact of the proliferation of disinformation and fake news via digital and other media, but also through more conventional mobilization and communication mechanisms, on processes of legitimation and delegitimation of European integration in the public sphere.

Partner institutions

  • The Institute of International Affairs (IIA) / Höfði Reykjavík Peace Centre, University of Iceland
  • University of Birmingham
  • ARENA Centre for European Studies, University of Oslo
  • Swedish School of Social Science, University of Helsinki
  • School of Public Administration, University of Victoria
  • Department of Media, Cognition and Communication, University of Copenhagen

Financing

Jean Monnet Network funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union

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Published Feb. 18, 2020 4:45 PM - Last modified Feb. 19, 2020 11:55 AM

Contact

Coordinator

Professor Maximillian Conrad

University of Iceland, Academic Coordinator of the Network