(Mis)Translating Deceit: A New Perspective on Disinformation

(Mis)Translating Deceit: A New Perspective on Disinformation

This short article, authored by Stephen Hutchings, appeared in the Russia Program Journal. It outlines some of the key ideas and ambitions of our project.

The article is available at: https://online.flippingbook.com/view/65937120/6/

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'Truth with a Z: disinformation, war in Ukraine, and Russia’s contradictory discourse of imperial identity'

'Truth with a Z: disinformation, war in Ukraine, and Russia’s contradictory discourse of imperial identity'

This article by Vera Tolz and Stephen Hutchings offers a qualitative analysis of how, by adopting identity-related discourses whose meanings resonate within a given culture, Russian state propaganda strives to bolster “the truth status” of its Ukraine war claims. These discourses, we argue, have long historical lineages and thus are expected to be familiar to audiences. We identify three such discourses common in many contexts but with specific resonances in Russia, those of colonialism/decolonization, imperialism, and the imaginary West. The article demonstrates that these same discourses also inform war-related coverage in Russophone oppositional media. Russian state-affiliated and oppositional actors further share “floating signifiers,” particularly “the Russian people,” “historical Russia,” “the Russian world,” “Ukraine,” “fascism/Nazism,” and “genocide,” while according them radically different meanings. Overall, our findings highlight the importance of studying how state propaganda works at the level of discourses, and the acutely dialogical processes by which disinformation and counter-disinformation efforts are produced and consumed.

Available via Open Access at: 

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Projecting Russia in a Mediatized World: Recursive Nationhood

Projecting Russia in a Mediatized World: Recursive Nationhood

The book by Stephen Hutchings presents a new perspective on how Russia projects itself to the world. Distancing itself from familiar, agency-driven International Relations accounts that focus on what ‘the Kremlin’ is up to and why, it argues for the need to pay attention to deeper, trans-state processes over which the Kremlin exerts much less control. Especially important in this context is mediatization, defined as the process by which contemporary social and political practices adopt a media form and follow media-driven logics. In particular, the book emphasizes the logic of the feedback loop or ‘recursion’, showing how it drives multiple Russian performances of national belonging and nation projection in the digital era. It applies this theory to recent issues, events, and scandals that have played out in international arenas ranging from television, through theatre, film, and performance art, to warfare. The first three chapters relate directly to disinformation.


For further details, see: https://www.routledge.com/Projecting-Russia-in-a-Mediatized-World-Recursive-Nationhood/Hutchings/p/book/9780367263904

This book is now available via Open Access at: https://www.routledge.com/Projecting-Russia-in-a-Mediatized-World-Recursive-Nationhood/Hutchings/p/book/9781032201221#

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‘(Mis)Translating Deceit: Disinformation’s Hidden Translingual, Journey’

‘(Mis)Translating Deceit: Disinformation’s Hidden Translingual, Journey’

This short introductory piece, authored by Stephen Hutchings and Vera Tolz, appeared on the Modern Languages Research Blog hosted by the Institute for Advanced Study in London on October 6, 2021. It is available at: https://modernlanguagesresearch.blogs.sas.ac.uk/2021/10/06/mistranslating-deceit-disinformations-hidden-translingual-journey/

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‘Performing Disinformation: a Muddled History and its Consequences’

‘Performing Disinformation: a Muddled History and its Consequences’

This brief introduction to the history of uses of the term, disinformation, was authored by Vera Tolz and Stephen Hutchings. It appeared on the LSE Politics Blog (Media@LSE Blog) on 10 August, 2021. It is available at: https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/medialse/2021/10/08/performing-disinformation-a-muddled-history-and-its-consequences/

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Fragmented Narrative: Telling and Interpreting Stories in the Twitter Age

Fragmented Narrative: Telling and Interpreting Stories in the Twitter Age

With the rise and rise of social media, today’s communication practices are significantly different from those of even the recent past. A key change has been a shift to very small units, exemplified by Twitter and its strict 280-character limit on individual posts. Consequently, highly fragmented communication has become the norm in many contexts. In his book Neil Sadler sets out to explore the production and reception of fragmentary stories, analysing the Twitter-based narrative practices of Donald Trump, the Spanish political movement Podemos, and Egyptian activists writing in the context of the 2013 military intervention in Egypt. Sadler draws on narrative theory and hermeneutics to argue that narrative remains a vital means for understanding, allowing fragmentary content to be grasped together as part of significant wholes.

For further details see: https://www.routledge.com/Fragmented-Narrative-Telling-and-Interpreting-Stories-in-the-Twitter-Age/Sadler/p/book/9781032036762

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