Creating Chaos Online

Disinformation and Subverted Post-Publics

Subjects: Political Science, Political Communication, Media Studies
Hardcover : 9780472075522, 318 pages, 6 online-only figures, 3 tables, 6 x 9, October 2022
Open Access : 9780472902903, 318 pages, 6 online-only figures, 3 tables, 6 x 9, October 2022
Paperback : 9780472055524, 318 pages, 6 online-only figures, 3 tables, 6 x 9, October 2022

This open access version is made available thanks in part to the support of libraries participating in Knowledge Unlatched.
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Unmasks the disinformation propagated by Russian trolling in public discourse

Table of contents

Table of Contents
Introduction: A déjà vu from the silenced generation to chaos
Chapter 1: Propagandistic masquerade
Chapter 2: Divide and conquer: Exploiting political polarization
Chapter 3: Instilling mistrust in institutions
Chapter 4: Roots of Russia’s false claims of self-victimization
Chapter 5: Deny and conquer: Fears of looking like a “pussy state”
Epilogue: Now what?



With the prevalence of disinformation geared to instill doubt rather than clarity, Creating Chaos Online unmasks disinformation when it attempts to pass as deliberation in the public sphere and distorts the democratic processes. Asta Zelenkauskaitė finds that repeated tropes justifying Russian trolling were found to circulate across not only all analyzed media platforms’ comments but also across two analyzed sociopolitical contexts suggesting the orchestrated efforts behind messaging. Through a dystopian vision of publics that are expected to navigate in the sea of uncertain both authentic and orchestrated content, pushed by human and nonhuman actors, Creating Chaos Online offers a concept of post-publics. The idea of post-publics is reflected within the continuum of treatment of public, counter public, and anti-public. This book argues that affect-instilled arguments used in public deliberation in times of uncertainty, along with whataboutism constitute a playbook for chaos online.

Asta Zelenkauskaitė is Associate Professor of Communication at Drexel University where she is part of the Center for Science, Technology & Society. Dr. Zelenkauskaitė holds an affiliation with Vilnius Tech University (Lithuania).

“This is a comprehensive analysis of Russian trolling and disinformation. Zelenkauskaitė explains the aims, scope, strategy, tactics, rhetoric, policies, and mechanics of Russian trolling in the most exhaustive, comprehensive, and empirically-rooted treatment of this subject that I have seen.”
—Janis Chakars, Neumann University

- Janis Chakars

“This book skillfully walks the thin line between falling through the rabbit hole of ‘dark participation’ sites, and zooming out to unpack and analyze it; taming the chaos for us, while letting us have a taste of it at the same time.”
—Carmel Vaisman, Tel Aviv University

- Carmel Vaisman


- M. S. Gorham

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Watch: Book Talk hosted by Paths of Democracy | 08/15/2023
Watch: Book Launch hosted by IAMCR Audience Section | 04/27/2023
Watch: Book Launch Event (In Lithuanian) | 9/19/2022 
Watch: Interview on Hello Milda (In Lithuanian) | 09/12/2022
Read: Author Q&A | 10/10/2022