APPEAL OF QANON
A Case Study of Italy
Dr. Luciano Pollichieni, Principal Investigator
The far-right conspiracy theory movement known as QAnon made a surprising mark on American politics. QAnon's disproven theories are a point of obsession for its followers, garnering the sympathy of the former president and his political party. As a result, it has become a subject of scrutiny. Researchers, security practitioners, analysts and journalist are working to provide context into its emergence and continued threat to American democracy. Very little, however, has focused on the international appeal of this extreamist movement. Why has a debunked conspiracy so focused on the American political context amassed dedicated followers abroad?
Dr. Luciano Pollichieni provides insight to this question with the first comprehensive analysis on a non-American community of QAnoners. He provides a fascinating study of the appeal of QAnon in Italy.
Pollichieni bases his analysis on a dataset composed by thousands of messages posted in the top three Italian QAnon Telegram groups, registering more than 28,434 subscribers. He considers how this community responds to:
The beginning of the COVID19 Pandemic
The 2020 US Elections
The January 6th assault on the Capitol Building
Engaging with both quantitative and qualitative methods of analysis, Pollichieni reveals how QAnoners create and implement narratives that respond to political leaders and contexts of the US and in Italy.
He finds that QAnon narratives are built on a systematic rebuke of empirical facts. The movement, therefore, is better understood as ideologically driven rather than a rationally based. This poses a serious challenge for deradicalization initiatives. Additionally, the data demonstrates growing feelings of disillusion and a sense of urgency that could form a catalyst for future violence.
A systematic rebuke of empirical facts
Ideologically driven rather than rationally based, posing a challenge for deradicalization initiatives.
Continued sense of urgency may represent a trigger for inspiring violent actions