Conceptual and methodological approaches in societal resilience research
Kristina Juraitė, Dmytro Iarovyi, Sten Torpan, Ragne Kõuts-Klemm
…with help and input from others in BECID’s research team, led by BECID’s Principal Investigator, Professor Andra Siibak, UTARTU
Part of D3.1 of the EU-funded project with the ID 118471, coordinated by the University of Tartu (UTARTU).
This systematic literature review aimed to investigate public responses and capacities in coping with the increasing challenges and risks associated with disinformation and other media-related disorders. It is based on more than 150 articles published since 2010. The primary objective of this review was to understand how resilience to disinformation and other information disorders is conceptualized and operationalized in academic literature.
One central aspect of the study focuses on the conceptualization of resilience. The studies define societal resilience against disinformation mainly as the social capacities, competences, and resources available to individuals and different groups in society to recognize and counteract the harmful effects of disinformation.
Resilience to disinformation is defined as a state in which disinformation fails to reach a significant portion of citizens or, at the very least, is unsuccessful in persuading those who encounter it to disseminate it.
Research indicates that societal resilience and the capacity to cope with disinformation are specific to each country and highly dependent on the socio-political and information environment. These studies shed light on various factors, including structural conditions (networks, institutions, and discourses) on one hand, and social actors’ (individual capacities and agency) approach on the other. They also highlight sociocultural factors (values, knowledge, trust, and practices) and contextual factors (social, political, and economic conditions, institutional settings, and power relations).
The study explores vulnerabilities stemming from disinformation, spanning various domains such as democracy, security, public health, economics, and technology. Furthermore, the report delves into conditioning factors that impact vulnerability or resilience to disinformation. These factors include characteristics of information, the environment, and information recipients.