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Online misinformation and everyday ontological narratives of social distinction

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journal contribution
posted on 2024-04-05, 13:44 authored by Natalie-Anne Hall, Andrew ChadwickAndrew Chadwick, Cristian Vaccari
Most research into online misinformation has investigated its direct effects—the impact it may have on citizens’ beliefs and behavior. Much less attention has been paid to how citizens themselves make sense of misinformation as a broader social problem. We integrate theories of narrative, identity, cultural capital, and social distinction to examine how people construct the problem of misinformation and their orientation to it. We show how people engage in everyday ontological narratives of social distinction. These involve making a variety of discursive moves to position one’s ‘taste’ in information consumption as superior to others constructed as lower in a social hierarchy. This serves to enhance social status by separating oneself from misinformation, which is presented as ‘other people’s problem.’ We argue that these narratives have significant implications not only for citizens’ vigilance toward misinformation but also their receptiveness to interventions by policymakers, fact-checkers, news organizations, and media educators.

Funding

Leverhulme Trust Research Project Grant (RPG2020-019)

History

School

  • Social Sciences and Humanities

Department

  • Communication and Media

Published in

Media, Culture and Society

Volume

46

Issue

3

Pages

572-590

Publisher

SAGE Publications

Version

  • VoR (Version of Record)

Rights holder

© The Author(s)

Publisher statement

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/) which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).

Acceptance date

2023-07-24

Publication date

2023-11-16

Copyright date

2023

ISSN

0163-4437

eISSN

1460-3675

Language

  • en

Depositor

Prof Andrew Chadwick. Deposit date: 14 August 2023

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