Semiotic perspective on the analysis of strategic conspiracy narratives
Strategic conspiracy narratives are effective means of information warfare. They can be used for grabbing attention, triggering memory-associations, delegitimizing political opponents, creating community cohesion and shaping the meanings of contemporary conflicts. Previous research has indicated that RT and Sputnik are explicit channels that Russia uses for constructing strategic conspiracy narratives that are aimed at: justifying its government policies, undermining the policies of the US government and NATO, creating an image of Russia as the leader of global resistance to the US. The goal of the project, directed by Mari-Liis Madisson (University of Tartu) and funded by the Estonian Research Council, is to elaborate a semiotic approach to studying strategic conspiracy narratives and to apply it in a qualitative analysis of content of RT and Sputnik. This project focuses on specific meaning-making and transmedial storytelling practices of strategic conspiracy narratives and explain the formation and management of interpretative communities. The research outcome will be three articles; practical outcomes will lie in elaborating teaching materials that enable students to gain basic competences in critical analysis of strategic narratives. The relevance of the project is supported by the National Defence Development Plan of Estonia’s emphasis on the need to increase academic expertise on strategic narratives.