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Influence operations: Vulnerabilities and effects

The project examines how strategic narratives disseminated through influence operations can harm society, for example by dividing society, undermining democracy, or eroding the image of Sweden. The project also studies the effects of the narratives disseminated, through opinion polls and experimental studies.

Subprojects:

Power struggle around the corona virus narrative: Sweden as a battlefield

The aim of the project is to develop knowledge about the influence of information through the dissemination of narratives. The study focuses on Sweden as a narrative battleground during the current global Covid-19 pandemic. Russian information influence through the use of strategic narratives serves as a background and starting point for the study, while the core of the study concentrates on the narratives of other actors.

The main question is: It is well known that Russia uses disinformation and strategic narratives to undermine Sweden and the EU, but what kind of narratives about Sweden can be found in major media in other, for Sweden important, countries in the context of this global crisis? How are they constructed and who nourishes them?

Effects of influence in the form of strategic narratives

This area critically examines the effects of influence operations. What appears to be effective is when influence operations, in the form of strategic narratives, touch on the identity of actors and particularly when it targets groups who feel frustrated and/or violated.

There are several psychological factors that can be assumed to influence outcomes in the target group, but it is clear that the level of knowledge about the consequences of influence operations is poor. This focus area therefore aims to increase the knowledge of what has an impact in terms of influencing people and how large that impact is. It includes the following questions: What are the effects of influence operations? What factors hinder or facilitate the operational impact of influence operations?

Responsible Department

Department of Political Science and Law

Partners

The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB)

Funding

The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB)

Ongoing

2019-2022

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Published 2022-06-28 Updated 2022-06-28