imwk research|talk mit Michael Daubs

Am 21. November findet der erste imwk research|talk dieses Semesters statt, in dem  , momentan als Gastwissenschaftler am , Einblicke in seine Forschung geben wird. Der Vortrag "Networks, Pseudoscience, and Extremism - Or How the Far Right and Hippies Became Friends during the New Zealand Vaccine Protest" findet von 14 bis 15:30 Uhr im Rahmen der Vorlesung "Medienrealität" von in Raum D-2106 statt.


This presentation addresses how online networks enable the spread of misinformation and pseudoscience that open receptive individuals to international extremist ideologies. Referencing Manuel Castells’ concept of the “Network Society”, i.e., one in which networks are the predominant organisational form and the “driving force of innovation” in society, it outlines how the communicative affordances of online platforms and tools enable the propagation of extremist, anti-government beliefs in other, normally unconnected groups such as wellness communities. The far right uses pseudoscientific discourse to take advantage of beliefs such as vaccine scepticism to sow chaos and political tension and increase mistrust in social institutions. Their ultimate goal is to use that mistrust to advocate for structural changes that benefit those on the far right while further marginalising minorities and at-risk groups.

This dynamic was visible during the so-called ‘freedom convoy’ protest that culminated in the occupation of Parliament grounds in Wellington, New Zealand in February 2022. During this time, on social media platforms such as Telegram, posts demonstrate the overlap of wellness-based anti-vax discourse, conspiracy theories, and extremist content that heightened anti-government rhetoric. This mix has significant consequences for the functioning of democracies and is effective because those espousing far-right views were addressing a highly receptive and emotionally charged audience of people affected by the government’s vaccine mandate. The parliament protest is indicative of the challenges online networks can present to governments and those working to limit the spread of extremist ideologies.


Alle Mitglieder der Fakultät sind herzlich zu dem Vortrag eingeladen!

Michael Daubs