Article published in:Real Fictions: Fictionality, factuality and narrative strategies in contemporary storytelling
Edited by Sam Browse, Alison Gibbons and Mari Hatavara
[Narrative Inquiry 29:2] 2019
► pp. 293–312
Making fiction out of fact
Attention and belief in the discourse of conspiracy
This article explores fictionality within the context of the discourse of conspiracy. In particular it examines the phenomenon of ‘false flag’ narratives: alternative versions of an event constructed by individuals who have become convinced that a news story has in fact been staged for malfeasant purposes. The article uses figure-ground analysis, which facilitates examination of how attention is distributed within a text. Specifically, it enables an examination of the prominence and salience that is afforded to particular elements within a text, and how this can be used to construct a fiction out of facts. The article problematises the notion of using a pragmatic assessment of authorial intention to establish the fictive or nonfictive status of a text. Finally, it proposes that more work needs to be undertaken in considering instances where authors either do not know or are conflicted about what they believe.
Keywords: conspiracy, false flag, figure-ground, burying, attention, belief, cognitive stylistics, Sandy Hook, Charlottesville
Published online: 16 October 2019
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Cited by 3 other publications
Biar, Liana de Andrade, Naomi Orton & Liliana Cabral Bastos
Bonetto, Eric & Thomas Arciszewski
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