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Supervisions (1)

PhD Media and Communications
Doctor of Philosophy

Level Doctor of Philosophy
Student Mr Benjamin Warburton
Status Current
Part Time No
Years 2019 - 2024
Project Title Alethic: An Exploration of the Relationship between Fake News and Ancient Myth, and their Shared Mechanisms of Behavioural Influence.
Project Description 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?
Awarding Institution The University of Salford
Director of Studies Eleftheria Rania Kosmidou
Second Supervisor Juan Hiriart Vera