Insecurity and democracy? Trust in news and information sources and the polarization and radicalization of the public discourses

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Rok publikování 2016
Druh Další prezentace na konferencích
Popis The paper presents a research project focused on the role of audiences’ trust in news and information sources in radicalization and polarization of the Czech public discourses and politics. This shift in the public and political sphere revives important questions about the democratic role of media as sources of a shared agenda, trustworthy content and public knowledge and as platforms for public negotiations of societal and political consent: Namely it remains apparent that new as well as broadcasting and print media – as communication platforms and institutions – can yet play their part in moderating the radicalization of public opinion. However, a topical, detailed, evidence-based and theoretically rich understanding of the situation is thus far missing. The situation can be partly explained as a result of a long-term crisis of democracy linked with a distrust in democratic institutions accompanied by a decrease in traditional forms of political participation (elections, political party membership, etc.) and an increase in alternative forms of political and public participation, often linked with various uses of new media. At the same time, the crisis is usually linked with economic situation of the country and with individuals’ economic insecurities. Nevertheless, such explanations do not provide the full picture. Therefore, we employ "ontological security thesis": rather than just economic insecurity, an overall sense of an anomic insecurity - or, more specifically, a lack of sense of Giddensian ontological security - has to be considered as one of the key sources of the polarization and radicalization. And, at the same time, we consider important the way it is linked with reception of media agendas as well as the way it is amplified by discourses on social networking sites and by so-called alternative information sources. In other words, in the project we focus on the relation between (a) the social actors’ trust/distrust in particular information/news sources, (b) their attitude towards the political sphere and (c) their experience of the locus of control (expressed in external and internal efficacy and in the sense of ontological security).
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