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Science, Denialism
& Conspiracy Theories 

Digital media bring countless possibilities for the communication of scientific knowledge,, but they also promote attacks and disinformation campaigns that confuse the population about what is or is not based on facts and legitimate research.  Organisations with different political and economic interests influence the production of communication about science and mobilize public opinion, acting as “dealers of doubt” in favor of explanations without evidence. Faced with society's growing demand for information, the media coverage of scientific controversies is a key point in the delegitimization of universities, research centers and

other knowledge-producing institutions.

 

Conspiracy theories have always existed, and are associated with alternative explanations of complex phenomena and historical events, which are reduced to plans secretly devised by “powerful groups” and “enemies of society”. Conspiracies occupy a central place in denialism, a practice which involves systematic denial of the knowledge produced and legitimized by institutions such as the scientific community. Denial groups often claim “another kind of science”, rather than an overtly anti-scientific stance. Conspiratorial and denialist campaigns attack the credibility of researchers, experts and scientific popularizers, generating distrust among parts of the population.

Based on research on the covid-19 health crisis, climate change, the conspiracy theory of globalism and other controversies, our studies analyze computational and communication strategies on different networked digital platforms. We also seek to map the recommendations of the international scientific community for the development of public policies in this field and to foster evidence-based decision-making.

Studies in Progress

Multiplatform analysis of anti-globalist campaigns in Brazil

We identify the strategies and narratives used in the online amplification of ‘anti-globalist’ theories. In this project, we research how this conservative movement associates political and economic aspects of globalization with conspiracy theories about a spiritual war against Western traditions.

Scientific misinformation and communication strategies in health crisis situations

Faced with the Covid-19 ‘infodemic’, scientific dissemination has become even more important and challenging. That's why we mapped the literature on communication strategies in health crises around the world and monitored the circulation of disinformative content about health on the Brazilian internet.

Scientific production and denialism: disputes about the social place of science

This project seeks to understand trends and gaps in research on the role of science in society, including the impact of technological innovations on the production and distribution of knowledge, as well as the evolution of organized forms of denialism and the discrediting of scientific knowledge.

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