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Title:The Role of Librarians in Gray Zone Conflict
Author(s):Black, Kimberly
Subject(s):Gray zone conflict
Information literacy
Media literacy
U.S. national security
Abstract:This work-in-progress is a conceptual paper about the role that librarians can play in mitigating effects of gray zone conflict through information literacy education. Gray zone conflict is a form of warfare where conflict exists below the threshold of war and armed combat. Gray zone conflict is frequently enacted through information campaigns and can be seen as a form of information warfare. Gray zone conflict is warfighting at the level of narrative and belief – how political, economic and social reality and interests are created and negotiated through narratives. The U.S. National Security Strategy of 2017 states that “America’s competitors weaponize information to attack the values and institutions that underpin free societies…They exploit marketing techniques to target individuals based upon their activities, interests, opinions, and values. They disseminate misinformation and propaganda.” (p. 34). The National Security Strategy promotes a concept that it calls “information statecraft” as central to securing the U.S. in the face of future conflict by aggressive actors. Key tenets of information and media literacy can be employed to deconstruct the three elements that characterize gray zone conflict as described by Mazar (2015): “rising revisionist intent, a …strategic gradualism, and unconventional tools.” The engagement of intentional information and media literacy strategies as a vehicle for information statecraft can strengthen the capacity of civil society to prevail against this unique form of conflict. Librarians, working with the most basic currency of the Information Age – people and information, can provide an essential public service in protecting our freedoms by enabling civil society to think critically, analytically and reflexively about the information that they receive, the sources from which it comes and the practical ends that it achieves in beliefs, thoughts and behaviors.
Issue Date:2020-10-13
Series/Report:Information Ethics
Information Security
Information Literacy
Information Use
Political Economy of the Information Society
Sociology of Information
Genre:Conference Poster
Date Available in IDEALS:2020-10-09

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