“SOCIAL IMPACT AND THE SOCIAL SCIENCES: THEORY AND PRACTICE IN THE ERA OF PROPAGANDA, FAKE NEWS AND MEDIA MANIPULATION”
The impact that social science research has on society is attracting increasing attention in public debate. Academic researchers are called upon to make their investigations relevant to the everyday needs of citizens, the economy, and organisations in the corporate, public and non-profit sectors. We live in challenging times for researchers and practitioners who seek to have an impact on the world. New technologies and socio-cultural and geopolitical
developments have generated propaganda, fake news, misinformation and ideological
manipulation. In many cases the very authority of science is under question, often
being used as a vehicle for perception management and mis-management. What is the social impact of social science in our time? How should we analyse and assess impact? What are the best ways for the epistemic communities of social scientists to respond to current challenges? How can one avoid the abuses of scientific authority, which contribute to propaganda and mass manipulation? How should social science communities deal with the confusion and turmoil created by propaganda? How can communities of social scientists increase the positive social impact of their research and findings?
The conference organizers welcome submissions in any one or more of the following
• theoretical or conceptual, exploring the role of social science in the broadest sense in
producing impact at the global, regional, national and/or local levels;
• individual case studies of particular organisations and sectors and/or geographical
spaces, with implications for particular populations;
• how the social sciences are employed, or misappropriated, by the new propaganda
and media manipulation;
• considering ways in which the social sciences could respond to the challenges
mentioned above by increasing the positive social impact of their methods, research
Paper proposals from any academic discipline are welcome, as are proposals from
practitioners working on specific impact projects. Submissions are welcome for either individual paper presentations or whole panel sessions and workshops. Submissions from individuals or teams of researchers working with activists and/or practitioners are also encouraged, as are submissions from early career scholars.