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Séjour court


Linguistics - Italy

Research topics


Conspiracy Theories: discourse strategies and the language of persuasion in the social media environment

This project focuses on the language used by those who produce and follow Conspiracy Theories in the social media environment. This research will focus on how communication through social media, and specifically Twitter, is particularly prone to the spreading of conspiracy theories. In this sense, the highly emotional language and the condensation of meaning in short messages, both of which are typical of social media, play very well in the hands of conspiracy theory producers, who can rely on an ever-expanding audience. The research will address on 1) the strong influence of QAnon, a far-right conspiracy theory movement, on the political electorate in the USA, and 2) the COVID 19-related conspiracy theories. Research on these two threads is crucial to understand the connections between political discourse and health discourse, a connection which is particularly relevant in the age of populism, as populist leaders have been fighting against both mainstream politics and “Big Pharma”.

Activities / Resume


Massimiliano Demata is Associate Professor of English at the University of Turin.He tookhisDPhil in English from the University of Oxford in 1999 and was a Fulbright scholar in Yale (1999) and Indiana University (2014). He has heldVisitingProfessorships/Lectureships at SaarlandUniversity (2020), Sciences Po Lyon (2021), and OTH Regensburg (2022). He iscurrently the co-editor of the Journal of Language and Discrimination His research interests include populism, conspiracytheorydiscourses, Trump’srhetoric, metaphors of the nation, and social media.