Framings of Reality and Disputed Truths: Agnotology, Denialism and Motivated Reasoning during the Covid-19 Pandemic
On March 11, 2020 - three months after the first reported case in Wuhan, China - the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared that Covid-19 should be characterized as a pandemic. Different measures were taken around the world in the following months, from tracking contacts with infected people to lockdown. Some of those measures were based on scientific evidence and on WHO's guidelines. On the other hand, in some countries, the presidents decided to contradict the best scientific evidence and deny the seriousness of the Covid-19 pandemic. This talk aims to investigate how the pandemic reality was framed by mainstream media, the scientific community, and agnotologist presidents in Brazil, Mexico, and the United States. Additionally, Lopes intends to investigate whether the individual perceptions of Covid were shaped by political leaders' cues, especially when such leaders denied the brutal reality of cases and deaths. Moreover, through qualitative interviews with deniers, the objective is to explore their arguments, information sources, and underiying worldviews.
Nayla Lopes is a joumalist and Ph.D. candidate in poltical science at the Federal University of Minas Gerais, in Brazil. She is a Fulbright visiting scholar at CSD for the 2022-2023 academic year, and her research interests include political behavior, social psychology, political communication, and public opinion.