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Narrative counterspeech

Lepoutre, M. ORCID: (2022) Narrative counterspeech. Political Studies. ISSN 0032-3217

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1177/00323217221129253


The proliferation of conspiracy theories poses a significant threat to democratic decision-making. To counter this threat, many political theorists advocate countering conspiracy theories with “more speech,” or “counterspeech.” Yet conspiracy theories are notoriously resistant to counterspeech. This article aims to conceptualise and defend a novel form of counterspeech—narrative counterspeech—that is singularly well-placed to overcome this resistance. My argument proceeds in three steps. First, I argue that conspiracy theories pose a special problem for counterspeech for three interconnected reasons relating to salience, emotion, and internal coherence. Drawing on recent work in social epistemology, philosophy of emotion, and cognitive science, I then demonstrate that narrative forms of counterspeech constitute an apt response to this diagnosis. Finally, I forestall two objections: the first questions the likely effectiveness of narrative counterspeech; the second insists that, even if it were effective, it would remain unacceptably manipulative. Neither objection, I contend, is ultimately compelling.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Politics, Economics and International Relations > Politics and International Relations
ID Code:107288


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