In Greek mythology, Cassandra was cursed to speak the truth, correctly predict the future, but to never be believed. This is Cassandra’s dilemma or syndrome: that truth-telling is met with disbelief. Knowledge-resistance and disinformation are on the rise globally: flat-earthers, creationists, and anti-vaxxers dispute well-established science. Such resistance and disinformation have serious consequences. Measles outbreaks in developed nations provide one tangible example. But the undermining of deliberative democracy is just as grave a consequence. Disinformation campaigns are wreaking social and political havoc. Lies, contradictions, and doublespeak poison the public sphere, often with the help of social media. Fake news sow doubt, deceit, distrust, and fear. Traditional investigative journalism is met with distrust whenever it contradicts what the public wants to hear. Once belief in objective standards for truth and knowledge has been eroded, society becomes polarized and fractured, with each tribe positing their own, alternative realities.

Adrienne Lemon, Teresa Marques and Åsa Wikforss will talk about knowledge-resistance and tribalism, fear and dangerous speech, and strategies to prevent alienation and extremism.

Diaphora has received funding  from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 675415