Complementary concepts of disinformation

Seargeant, Philip (2022). Complementary concepts of disinformation. In: Demata, Massimiliano; Zorzi, Virginia and Zottola, Angela eds. Conspiracy Theory Discourses. Discourse Approaches to Politics, Society and Culture, 98. John Benjamins, pp. 193–214.



This chapter looks at the relationship between two distinct but related forms of disinformation currently widespread in political discourse: ‘fake news’ and conspiracy theories. Both play a significant role in the promotion and circulation of forms of false information which are considered by many as a threat to civil society. They are both frequently co-opted as means of political persuasion, often for propaganda purposes. Despite their similarities, the two exist as distinct genres of disinformation. The aim of the chapter is to analyse the nature of their similarities and differences as rhetorical tools in order to provide a more nuanced picture of the role they both play in contemporary politics.

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