Project Title: Alethic: An Exploration of the Relationship between Fake News and Ancient Myth, and their Shared Mechanisms of Behavioural Influence
Supervisors: Dr Eleftheria Rania Kosmidou and Dr Juan Hiriart Vera
Alethic is a practice-as-research PhD thesis, primarily focused on consumer behavioural manipulation via social media, interrogating the mechanisms utilised through the lens of ancient myth, and its relationship to modern fake news.
To do so, Alethic also takes another form: a series of five short documentaries. However, there is a catch – some of the documentaries are fabricated. Can you decipher the factual from the fictitious?
From Ferdinand de Saussure’s deconstruction of the sign to Roland Barthes’ proposition of myth as a form of speech, extensive research has been conducted into the theory of myth as a concept. Throughout structuralist theory, myth, and specifically ancient myth, has been analysed to provide a clearer understanding of how humans communicate. However, the link between the linguistic relationship between myth and fake news is, to my knowledge, yet to be analysed.
Within this theoretical framework, this practice-as-research thesis aims to investigate the possibility that these two elements are linked in their structural form: are fake news and ancient myth structurally similar? And, to that end, how effective are both phenomena at influencing consumer opinion? These questions will be addressed via the creation of five media texts.
The texts, in the form of short films, will be presented as factual pieces to live audiences, although three of these will be completely fabricated. This practice-as-research model then, will then act as the basis for a participatory analysis, which will assess the permeation level of behavioural influence, by way of fabricated information in the public discourse. This is an innovative project that aims to compare fake news and ancient myth.Ultimately, this research will answer the overarching question: How similar are the behavioural mechanisms used for influence of discourse within the separate spheres of ancient myth and fake news?
I am a current PhD researcher at the University of Salford, studying the relationship between fake news, ancient myth, and modern perceptions of truth, via research-by-practice. With five years of experience working within the television and online media sectors, I have a wide variety of projects under my belt: ranging from production assistant on Ian Brown music videos, to short form producer for BBC Music Day, and APC on high-end television dramas Endeavour and Victoria.
Moving from the TV industry back into academia has been incredibly rewarding, and I now lecture in TV Development, Production Management, and New Media. My research interests include linguistics, queer theory, and structuralism. In my spare time, I can often be found cuddling one of my four cats.
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