Strategic Conspiracy Narratives proposes an innovative semiotic perspective for analysing how contemporary conspiracy theories are used for shaping interpretation paths and identities of a targeted audience.
Conspiracy theories play a significant role in the viral spread of misinformation that has an impact on the formation of public opinion about certain topics. They allow connecting different events that have taken place in various times and places, and involve several actors that seem incompatible for bystanders. This monograph focuses on strategic-function conspiracy narratives in the context of (social) media and information conflict. It explicates the strategic devices in how conspiracy theories can be used to evoke a hermeneutics of suspicion – a permanent skepticism and questioning of so-called mainstream media channels and dominant public authorities, delegitimisation of political opponents, and the ongoing search for hidden clues and coverups. The success of strategic dissemination of conspiracy narratives depends on the cultural context, specifics of the targeted audience and the semiotic construction of the message. This book proposes an innovative semiotic perspective for analyzing contemporary strategic communication. The authors develop a theoretical framework that is based on semiotics of culture, the notions of strategic narrative and transmedia storytelling.
This book is targeted to specialists and graduate students working on social theory, semiotics, journalism, strategic communication, social media, and contemporary social problems in general.
PART I. THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
1. Semiotic conflicts in strategic communication
Conceptualising the conflict of meanings
On the specificity of the informational influencing on social media
Information conflicts and strategic narratives
2, A semiotic approach to conspiracy theories
Studying conspiracy theories spreading on the Internet
The functions of identity creation in conspiracy theories
The semiotic approach to conspiracy narratives
PART II. Semiotic analysis of strategic Soros conspiracy narratives
3. Strategic Soros conspiracy narratives in politics, marketing and alternative knowledge
Strategic construction of conflict in conspiracy narrative
George Soros - the Grand Old Scapegoat of contemporary conspiracy narratives
The strategic devices of the Soros conspiracy narratives
4. The main meaning-making mechanisms of strategic conspiracy narratives
Conspiracy theories as a trigger of affective communication
Transmedial strategic conspiracy narratives
Conclusion and future direction
Conspiracy theories have a long history, and exist in all modern societies. However, their visibility and significance are increasing today. Conspiracy theories can no longer be simply dismissed as the product of a pathological mind-set located on the political margins.
This series provides a nuanced and scholarly approach to this most contentious of subjects. It draws on a range of disciplinary perspectives including political science, sociology, history, media and cultural studies, area studies and behavioural sciences. Issues covered include the psychology of conspiracy theories, changes in conspiratorial thinking over time, the role of the Internet, regional and political variations and the social and political impact of conspiracy theories.
The series will include edited collections, single-authored monographs and short-form books.