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Cassandra’s Dilemma: The Threat of Disinformation

Debate with Åsa Wikforss, Teresa Marques and Adrienne Lemon


In this debate, and thanks to three leading international experts, we will discuss the reasons why disinformation campaigns and knowledge-resistance are on the rise globally, the social and political consequences of this situation and how to deal with them.   

In Greek mythology, Cassandra was cursed to speak the truth, correctly predict the future, but never to be believed. This is Cassandra’s dilemma or syndrome: that truth-telling is met with disbelief. Knowledge-resistance and disinformation are on the rise globally: flat-earthers, creationists, and anti-vaxxers dispute well-established science. Such resistance and disinformation have serious consequences: measles outbreaks in developed nations provide one tangible example, but the undermining of deliberative democracy is just as grave a consequence.  Disinformation campaigns are wreaking social and political havoc; lies, contradictions, and doublespeak poison the public sphere, often with the help of social media. Traditional investigative journalism is met with distrust whenever it contradicts what the public wants to hear. Once belief in objective standards for truth and knowledge has been eroded, how can the danger of ending up with a polarized and fractured society be avoided?

Åsa Wikforss, Teresa Marques and Adrienne Lemon all work in the field of Human Rights and study the interaction between language and social reality. In this debate they will talk to us about knowledge-resistance and tribalism, fear and dangerous speech, and strategies to prevent alienation and extremism.

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