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Vittorio Bufacchi

There always comes a time in history when the person who dares to say that 2 + 2 = 4 is punished by death Albert Camus, The Plague In crises, we rely desperately on the truth, and there is no room for ‘post-truth’. Or at least, there shouldn’t be. But that’s not what we have seen with the COVID-19 pandemic. In the previous chapter we saw how populism tends to have a relaxed relationship with truth. In this chapter, the focus will switch to the phenomenon of fake news and post-truth, and how COVID-19 is not immune from this aspect of the global

in Everything must change
Mel Bunce

crises, they increasingly encounter media content that blurs the line between reality and fiction. This includes everything from rumours and exaggerations on social media, through to partisan journalism, satire and completely invented stories that are designed to look like real news articles. Although this media content varies enormously, it is often grouped together under nebulous and all-encompassing terms such as ‘fake news’, ‘disinformation’ or ‘post-truth’ media. Scholars have started to pay serious attention to the production and impact of all

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Thinking through difficult times
Author: Ilan Zvi Baron

In 1989, in the American journal The National Interest, Francis Fukuyama's conclusion was about the triumph of Western democratic liberal capitalism over communism. The forces of liberal capitalism that he saw as representing the end of history have unleashed a powerful wave of anger directed at the winning elites. This book is written with two purposes in mind. The first is to try to make some sense of what appears to be a world that is falling apart around us. The second is to try to advance an argument about where we go from here. One of the arguments of the book is that the Brexit and Trump results are a consequence of a series of failures. The book explores debates about methodology and political theory, and about the importance of context and thus of narratives. It discusses points from this debate between the behaviouralists and those in political theory. The book discusses the electoral results of Trump and of Brexit, offering an interpretation of what these results mean in the context of a post-fact world of identity politics. It argues for the importance of political responsibility and of how by recasting and re-emphasising the politics of responsibility becomes possible to address the current failures of our political leaders and political systems. The book suggests three elements to politics: the relationship between knowledge and power, with a particular emphasis on the role of interpretation; political responsibility or the politics of responsibility; and the significance of narratives or meaning (hermeneutics).

Open Access (free)
Environmental justice and citizen science in a post-truth age
Editors: Thom Davies and Alice Mah

This book examines the relationship between environmental justice and citizen science, focusing on enduring issues and new challenges in a post-truth age. Debates over science, facts, and values have always been pivotal within environmental justice struggles. For decades, environmental justice activists have campaigned against the misuses of science, while at the same time engaging in community-led citizen science. However, post-truth politics has threatened science itself. This book makes the case for the importance of science, knowledge, and data that are produced by and for ordinary people living with environmental risks and hazards. The international, interdisciplinary contributions range from grassroots environmental justice struggles in American hog country and contaminated indigenous communities, to local environmental controversies in Spain and China, to questions about “knowledge justice,” citizenship, participation, and data in citizen science surrounding toxicity. The book features inspiring studies of community-based participatory environmental health and justice research; different ways of sensing, witnessing, and interpreting environmental injustice; political strategies for seeking environmental justice; and ways of expanding the concepts and forms of engagement of citizen science around the world. While the book will be of critical interest to specialists in social and environmental sciences, it will also be accessible to graduate and postgraduate audiences. More broadly, the book will appeal to members of the public interested in social justice issues, as well as community members who are thinking about participating in citizen science and activism. Toxic Truths includes distinguished contributing authors in the field of environmental justice, alongside cutting-edge research from emerging scholars and community activists.

Philosophical lessons from lockdown

French philosopher Michel de Montaigne (1533–92) famously said that facing our mortality is the only way to properly learn the ‘art of living’. He was right. This book is about what we can learn from COVID-19 about the art of living, as individuals but also collectively as a society: this crisis could potentially change our lives for the better, ushering in a more just society. The book will explore a number of key themes through philosophical lenses. Chapter 2 asks whether coronavirus is a misfortune, or an injustice. Chapter 3 focuses on the largest cohort of victims of coronavirus: people in old age. Chapter 4 asks whether life under coronavirus is comparable to life in the so-called ‘state of nature’. Chapter 5 explores the likely impact of coronavirus on the global phenomenon of populism. Chapter 6 investigates the relationship between post-truth and coronavirus. Chapter 7 focuses on the role of experts during this crisis. Chapter 8 looks at the spike of incidents of domestic violence during the lockdown via an analysis of Sally Rooney’s Normal People. Chapter 9 explores four key lessons that must be learned from the COVID-19 crisis: that politics matters; that central states are necessary; that taxation is important; and that radical reforms, including the introduction of a universal basic income, are crucial. Chapter 10 considers what philosophy can contribute to the debate on COVID-19, and why we have a moral duty not to become ill.

How we avoid insight from others
Author: Mikael Klintman

Why do people and groups ignore, deny and resist knowledge about society’s many problems? In a world of ‘alternative facts’, ‘fake news’, and ‘fact resistance’ that some believe could be remedied by ‘factfulness’ or ‘enlightenment’, the question has never been more pressing. Following years of ideologically polarised debates on this topic, the book seeks to further advance our understanding of the phenomenon of knowledge resistance by integrating insights from the social, economic, and evolutionary sciences. In current debates and studies, several vital factors are downplayed: that all people and institutions – even science – occasionally resist knowledge while calling their resistance ‘scepticism’, that knowledge resistance is not always irrational, that facts don’t equal truth, and that knowledge claims continuously need to be re-evaluated. Ignoring such key factors undermines the chances of reducing problematic knowledge resistance. Examples used in the book include controversies over climate change, the roots of violence, gender roles, religion, child-rearing, vaccination, genetically modified food, and artificial intelligence. In addition to accessible discussion of the scholarly literature and media sources, in-depth interviews with other renowned human scientists in the UK about their perspectives on knowledge resistance contribute to understanding this intriguing phenomenon. Moreover, the author shares his personal experiences of cultural clashes between different knowledge claims. The book is written for the educated public, students, and scholars interested in how people and groups handle knowledge controversies, and how such disputes can be resolved in the service of better managing the urgent social, environmental, and health-related problems of today.

Sean Healy and Victoria Russell

, T. ( 2018 ), Disinformation Toolkit ( Washington DC : InterAction ), www.interaction.org/documents/disinformation-toolkit/ (accessed 7 October 2020 ). Oliveri , F. ( 2017 ), ‘ The (Post-)Truth about Migrants: The Case of an Italian Viral Video on Search and Rescue

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Open Access (free)
Lessons for future posts
Adriaan van Veldhuizen

volume not only help us understand historical post-concepts, but also prove valuable in assessing contemporary post-concepts, and perhaps even future ones. Therefore, the second part of this epilogue focuses on a post-concept that is central to contemporary public life and debate, but has not yet been discussed in much detail in this volume: post-truth. Studying post-concepts: A historical phenomenon Before turning to the five methodological principles detailed in the introduction – transfer , interconnectedness

in Post-everything
Abstract only
Simon Mussell

Coda I n lieu of a summary restatement of the preceding chapters, it seems more appropriate to finish by considering the role of affective politics in our contemporary moment. Much has already been written about 2016 marking a uniquely turbulent year of political upheaval, expressive of widespread discontent with the ‘establishment’, elites, and experts. What might a critical theory of affect have to say in response to the ostensibly seismic political events encompassed in Brexit, Donald Trump, and our supposedly new ‘post-​truth’ age? Let us take the last

in Critical theory and feeling
Abstract only
Performing witnessing in a post-truth era
Amanda Stuart Fisher

Conclusion: Performing witnessing in a post-truth era When delivering a lecture on testimonial theatre to some first-year undergraduate students in 2017, I began by asking the class to tell me how they understood the term ‘testimony’, what it meant and what importance it held for society today. One of the students put his hand up and asked whether, in fact, testimony today had any relevance at all, since, he pointed out, we were now in an era of post-truth. The student’s question was both important and relevant; it also highlighted some of the confusion that

in Performing the testimonial