The Institute of International Affairs at the University of Iceland (IIA) was recently awarded a grant from the European Union’s Jean Monnet Activities programme, Jean Monnet Networks. The grant will be managed by Hofdi Reykjavik Peace Centre, which is run under the auspices of the IIA. The total amount of the grant is 300.000 euros. Jean Monnet Networks are research projects that are designed to promote excellence in EU studies worldwide and foster a policy-debate with the academic world. The University of Iceland is the lead partner, with five other universities participating in the project: ARENA Centre for European Studies at the University of Oslo, the University of Helsinki, the University of Copenhagen, the University of Birmingham, and the University of Victoria in Canada.
The project, Post-Truth Politics, Nationalism and the (De)-Legitimation of European Integration, aims to address one of the major policy challenges facing the EU today, the impact of fake news, disinformation and post-truth politics on the legitimation and de-legitimation of European integration. In an era of post-truth politics, digital media has increasingly replaced traditional legacy media as the most important source and venue of political information and communication. The project aims to analyze both the extent and possible impact of the proliferation of disinformation and fake news via digital and other media, but also through more conventional mobilization and communication mechanisms, on processes of legitimation and de-legitimation of European integration.
Special emphasis is placed on analysing:
- the extent of the active use of disinformation strategies by nationalist and/or populist actors on the far right and whether similar trends are apparent on the political left;
- the responses that such strategies elicit from moderate actors, both left and right of the center of the political spectrum;
- the possible impact of disinformation on the quality of public deliberation about EU-related issues, both connected to policy and polity questions;
- and the possible impact of such processes on shaping politically relevant outcomes at the European and/or at the member state level.
Maximilian Conrad, Professor of Political Science at the University of Iceland leads the project on behalf of the University of Iceland in cooperation with Pia Hansson, Director of the Institute of International Affairs and Auður Örlygsdóttir, Project Manager at the Hofdi Reykjavik Peace Centre. The grant will be used to host workshops, round-tables for young researchers, publish academic papers, policy recommendations, and at the end of the project an academic book. A web-page and social media platforms for the project are being developed and will be advertised shortly.