The organising committee at the opening of the conference.

Unique conference on media, emotions and conspiracy theories brought together researchers from around the world

On 12-13 October, "Media and Emotional Mobilisation" - the first international conference on media and emotions - brought together 50 researchers in Kalmar.

A panel on emotional mobilisation in the alternative media ecosystem highlighted the risks of the fragmentation of opinion through new media channels. The mediatisation of emotions such as fear and threat was at the heart of another panel that clearly showed how times of crisis help to accelerate conspiratorial explanations of the world. There are clear similarities at the global level, although these are always translated into national contexts.

–What are the implications for media producers and consumers of social media rewarding emotional engagement? And what are the dangers and challenges of the trend towards media content that plays on our emotions or conspiracy theory ideas that pit fact against fiction? These are questions that are extremely important today, not least for the development of journalism, but also for democratic society as a whole, comments Andreas Önnerfors, project manager for the conference and for fact-checking at Fojo.

A final panel discussed trust in the media and how it affects democratic opinion formation. Individual presentations covered a global spectrum of topics, from social media in China, via election influence in Pakistan to fear as a theme in Georgia's political rhetoric.

Karin Wahl-Jørgensen, the conference's keynote speaker, is one of the world's leading researchers in the field. For her, research on the relationship between emotions, media and politics is central.

Keynote speaker professor  Karin Wahl-Jørgensen
Keynote speaker professor Karin Wahl-Jørgensen.

–One of the things I have been trying to achieve in recent years is to understand exactly how emotions circulate in the public sphere. What emotions are they and by whom are they spread? I try to understand how mediated emotions differ from those that circulate in our individual bodies or through other social interactions, says Wahl-Jørgensen.

This reasoning is in line with the very purpose of the conference. The impact of emotions on media production, content and recipients is an area of international multi-disciplinary research that is also of great importance for media practice.

The conference is the result of a collaboration between the Media Institute Fojo, the Department of Media and Journalism and the Centre for Intermedia and Multimodal Studies (IMS) at Linnaeus University.

The co-operation initiated in Kalmar will certainly lead to joint publications and research applications.

At Linnaeus University, the formation of the Linnaeus Media Observatory (LMO), a multidisciplinary platform for research, practice and production in the media field, is underway. The conference also launched "CONNOR: Nordic Network of Conspiracy Theory Research" which will hold its first conference in Lund in May 2024.

More information:

Linnaeus Knowledge Environment: A Questioned Democracy:

The conference "Media and Emotional Mobilisation":