The subproject „Conspirative Half-Truths. Pegida Discourses in Social Networks“ investigates the formation, spread and evolution of conspirative narratives in social networks.

Pegida constitutes an interesting case for such a study, because the movement has drawn heavily on online platforms for communication and coordination processes from its beginnings; moreover, recent research suggests an affinity between populism and conspirationism, which shall be tested in the project. The research project proceeds in four steps in the sense of a mixed methods design. As a first step, key terminology is extracted from literature and our own research in order to index conspirative narratives. As a second step, this terminology is analyzed within the data sets by means of computer-assisted procedures to ultimately identify relevant passages of texts. These are lastly studied with qualitative methods regarding their narrative and argumentative structure, their utilization of half-truths and their evolution over multiple postings. This project will further be supported by two workshops, to which external experts are invited.

Further Information & Contact

University of Basel
Nicola Gess
Department of German Studies
Nadelberg 4
4051 Basel

University of Basel
Oliver Nachtwey
Department of Sociology
Petersgraben 27
4051 Basel

University of Bremen
Cornelius Puschmann
Centre for Media, Communication and Information Research (ZeMKI)
Linzer Straße 6
28359 Bremen

Selected Publications

Nicola Gess: Halbwahrheiten. Zur Manipulation von Wirklichkeit. Berlin: Matthes & Seitz 2021. Link
Gess, Nicola: "Half-Truths. On an Instrument of Post-Truth Politics", in: Ben Carver, Dana Crăciun, Todor Hristov (eds.): Plots: Literary Form and Cultures of Conspiracy. London: Routledge (in press).
Gess, Nicola: "Versuch über die Halbwahrheit", in: Matíaz Martínez, Katharina Rennhak, Michael Scheffel, Roy Sommer, Antonius Weixler, (eds.): Postfaktisches Erzählen. Berlin: De Gruyter (in press).
Nachtwey, Oliver; Heumann, Maurits: "Regressive Rebellen und autoritäre Innovatoren: Typen des neuen Autoritarismus", in: Klaus Dörre, Hartmut Rosa, Karina Becker, Sophie Bose und Benjamin Seys (ed.): Große Transformation? Zur Zukunft moderner Gesellschaften. Wiesbaden: Springer 2019, pp. 435-453. PDF
Nachtwey, Oliver; Jörke, Dirk (eds.): Das Volk gegen die (liberale) Demokratie. Die Krise der Repräsentation und neue populistische Herausforderungen. Baden-Baden: Nomos 2017 (=Leviathan. Special Issue 32).
Nachtwey, Oliver: Die Abstiegsgesellschaft. Über das Aufbegehren in der regressiven Moderne. Berlin: Suhrkamp 2016.
Nachtwey, Oliver: "PEGIDA, politische Gelegenheitsstrukturen und der neue Autoritarismus", in: Karl-Siegbert Rehberg, Franziska Kunz und Tino Schlinzig (eds.): PEGIDA – Rechtspopulismus zwischen Fremdenangst und "Wende"-Enttäuschung? Berlin: Transcript 2016, pp. 299-312. PDF
Nachtwey, Oliver: "Pegida und das marktkonforme Ressentiment", in: Wolfgang Benz (ed.): Fremdenfeinde und Wutbürger. Verliert die demokratische Gesellschaft ihre Mitte? Berlin: Metropol 2016, pp. 135-150.
Puschmann, Cornelius; Bastos, Marco Toledo; Schmidt, Jan-Hinrik: "Birds of a Feather Petition Together? Characterizing E-Petitioning Through the Lens of Platform Data", in: Information, Communication & Society 20/2 (2017), pp. 203-220. Text
Puschmann, Cornelius; Ausserhofer, Julian; Maan, Noura; Hametner, Markus: "Information Laundering and Counter-Publics: The News Sources of Islamophobic Groups on Twitter", in: The Workshops of the Tenth International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media Proceedings, AAAI Technical Report WS-16-19, pp. 143-150. Text
Puschmann, Cornelius; Scheffler, Tatjana: "Topic Modeling for Media and Communication Research: A Short Primer", HIIG Discussion Paper Series 05 (2016). Text