WP6 – External Challenges to Liberal Democracy

Work package six focuses on external dimension of the post-truth politics and the corresponding challenges to liberal democracy. It seeks to trace, from the international perspective, the disinformation and fake news assemblages (multiplicities of heterogeneous elements affixed together and governed by a strategic purpose) and the effects of the security mechanisms that are established to manage the resulting challenges. It further explores the nexus between the redefinition of the international/domestic on the one hand and the ability of virtual agents to cross borders at will and to what effects for securitisation practices inside the EU. Furthermore strategies of selected outside actors in relation to post-truth politics will be explored in view of the possible effects on the EU and the legitimacy of liberal politics more broadly.

The work package analyses the international dimension of challenges to liberal democracies related to the strategic deployment of propaganda, manipulative narratives and disinformation by external actors while also attending to relevant securitisation narratives and their socio-political effects. It analyses these dynamics against the backdrop of a broader process in which the political contestation of what counts as truth brings, first of all, a fundamental challenge to institutional legitimacy in liberal politics, but also casts doubt over the established distinction between national and international, or between in(side) and out(side) of the political order.

Finally, policy recommendations will be articulated regarding safeguarding and reforming liberal democratic institutions in the digital age. In particular, a toolkit to respond in an efficient and just way to the related challenges will be put forward.