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Erving Goffman on misinformation and information control: the conduct of contemporary Russian information operations

Innes, Martin ORCID: and Dawson, Andrew 2022. Erving Goffman on misinformation and information control: the conduct of contemporary Russian information operations. Symbolic Interaction 45 (4) , pp. 517-540. 10.1002/symb.603

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Misinformation is a social problem increasingly, and routinely, commanding significant political and public attention. Less well known is that Erving Goffman was writing about misinformation as early as 1953 in his PhD thesis. Subsequent to which, he wrote repeatedly about the social organization and conduct of “information control” across several of his most influential publications. This article distils his ideas about these concepts to explore how they illuminate the contemporary phenomena of misinformation. To do this, empirical data are introduced from a large-scale research program exploring the causes, communication, and consequences of digital information operations and campaigns, with a particular focus upon the Internet Research Agency and Instagram. The analysis attends in particular to sequences of “revealing moves” and “concealing moves” performed by the social media account operators. The dialogue between the data and Goffman's concepts outlines the precepts of a sociologically inflected, interactionist position on misinformation.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Crime and Security Research Institute (CSURI)
Additional Information: This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0195-6086
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 May 2022
Date of Acceptance: 13 May 2022
Last Modified: 05 May 2023 04:35

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