Strategic Security Narratives in a “Post-Fact” World

Instructor: Vivian S. Walker

Credits: 2.0

Course description: 

At a time when disinformation and fake news corrupt information sources and channels, a state’s ability to project a persuasive narrative about its national security interests is at risk.  This course examines the role of strategic narrative as an instrument of state power in the age of the Internet and the World Wide Web.  We will look at strategic narrative concepts, practices, and the impact of the rapid transformation of information acquisition and dissemination paradigms.  This course will then examine the dynamic between information empowerment and information control, followed by an investigation of specific challenges to state narrative authenticity in the form of fake news, propaganda and disinformation campaigns.  We will also consider the erosion of public trust in state institutions and traditional media sources and how that undermines a state’s capacity to make its case in the public sphere.  Finally, the course will undertake comparative assessments of strategic narrative content, implementation and impact to develop a set of lessons learned about the narrative projection of state power in a “post-fact” world.

Learning outcomes: 

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Critically discuss the role and impact of strategic narrative in as an instrument of power in the service of national security interests;
  • Analyze the interplay of foreign policy, public image and government/private sector relationships in the shaping of 21st century international politics and global communications;
  • Analyze how government, non-government, private and public sector entities use and integrate strategic narrative tools to assert power, advocate policy and convey identity in a complex and rapidly evolving information environment;
  • Design a focused and realistic strategic narrative strategy to advance a policy/issue/cause in the service of political, economic and social security interests on a local, national, regional or global scale in the “post-fact” environment