This is a special lecture in the RPAs Communication & Personalised Communication, which is being given by W. Lance Bennett, Professor of Political Science and Ruddick C. Lawrence Professor of Communication at the University of Washington, Seattle, USA, where he directs the Center for Communication and Civic Engagement (www.engagedcitizen.org). The focus of his work is on how communication processes affect citizen engagement with politics. His publications include The Logic of Connective Action: Digital Media and the Personalization of Contentious Politics (with Alexandra Segerberg, Cambridge, 2013). He has held visiting professorships at Harvard University in the US, Uppsala and Stockholm in Sweden, and Free University, Berlin, and has an honorary doctorate from Uppsala.
Beyond Filter Bubbles: The Radical Right, Digital Media and the Rise of Undemocratic Public Spheres
Many democratic nations are experiencing increased levels of false information circulating through social media and political websites that mimic journalism formats. In many cases, this disinformation is associated with the efforts of movements and parties on the radical right to mobilize supporters against center parties and the mainstream press that carries their messages. The spread of disinformation can be traced to growing legitimacy problems in many democracies. Declining citizen confidence in institutions undermines the credibility of official information in the news, and opens publics to alternative information sources. Those sources are often associated with both nationalist (primarily radical right) and foreign (commonly Russian) strategies to undermine institutional legitimacy and destabilize center parties, governments, and elections. The Brexit campaign in the U.K. and the election of Donald Trump in the U.S. are among the most prominent examples of systematic disinformation intended to disrupt normal democratic order, but many other nations display signs of disinformation and democratic disruption. Rather than continue calling these developments “populism," I suggest we find more useful concepts and theoretical frameworks for exploring these developments.
Room This lecture will take place in REC C10.20Nieuwe Achtergracht 166