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On May 25th 2022, media and communication scholars met at Sciences Po in Paris for a pre-conference before the annual conference of the International Communication Association (ICA) to discuss the question, “What comes after disinformation studies?”

Today, CITAP is proud to release a special issue of our Bulletin of Technology & Public Life with eleven new pieces exploring answers to this question from many angles. As the collection shows, it may be time for disinformation studies to fade away—or become something new.

Read the collection

Chris Anderson and Théophile Lenoir note in their introductory essay,

“The problem is twofold. First, disinformation studies has generally lacked analyses of power and interest… Second, the real problem underlying informational politics in many countries are powerful groups seeking to hold on to their political, social, economic, and cultural advantages in the face of increasingly powerful challenges to that power.”

This special issue takes up the question of “what comes after disinformation studies” from many angles.

Several pieces take on the “infocentric” nature of the current discussion to consider instead issues of style, distraction, ignorance, context, and state violence.

Another recurring theme is the importance of understanding disinformation in non-Western contexts, with pieces exploring disinformation in a Vietnamese context and information disorder across Mali, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Senegal, and the Sahel.

Finally, these scholars grapple with how we define democracy in a world with disinformation, centering questions of power, moral claims, inequality, race and ethnicity, and conflict.

So, what does come after disinformation studies? Anderson and Lenoir offer a clear call to regulators and others seeking to build more just, resilient democracies:

“Technical solutions to political problems are bound to fail. Historical, structural, and political inequality—and especially race, ethnicity, and social difference—needs to be at the forefront of our understanding of politics and, indeed, disinformation.”

The full contents:


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