Post-Truth Imaginations New Starting Points for Critique of Politics and Technoscience
This book engages with post-truth as a problem of societal order and for scholarly analysis. It claims that post-truth discourse is more deeply entangled with main Western imaginations of knowledge societies than commonly recognised. Scholarly responses to post-truth have not fully addressed these entanglements, treating them either as something to be morally condemned or as accusations against which scholars have to defend themselves (for having somehow contributed to it). Aiming for wider problematisations, the authors of this book use post-truth to open scholarly and societal assumptions to critical scrutiny. Contributions are both conceptual and empirical, dealing with topics such as: the role of truth in public; deep penetrations of ICTs into main societal institutions; the politics of time in neoliberalism; shifting boundaries between fact – value, politics – science, nature – culture; and the importance of critique for public truth-telling. Case studies range from the politics of nuclear power and election meddling in the UK, over smart technologies and techno-regulation in Europe, to renewables in Australia. The book ends where the Corona story begins: as intensifications of Modernity’s complex dynamics, requiring new starting points for critique.
Introduction: Post-Truth — Another Fork in Modernity’s Path
Part 1: Foundations
1. Truth as What Kind of Functional Myth for Modern Politics?: A Historical Case-Study
2. Post-Truth or Pre-Emptive Truth?: STS and the Genealogy of the Present
3. The Moment of Post-Truth for Science and Technology Studies
Part 2: Inquiries
4. Post-Truth Dystopia: Huxleyan Distraction or Orwellian Control?
5. Public Reasoning in "Post-Truth" Times: Technoscientific Imaginaries of "Smart" Futures
Ingrid Foss Ballo and Nora S. Vaage
6. Tracing Networked Infrastructures for Post-Truth: Public Dissections of and by Techno-Political Leviathans
Niels van Dijk
7. Governing the Median Estate: Hyper-Truth and Post-Truth in the Regulation of Digital Innovations
Kjetil Rommetveit and Niels van Dijk
"Post-Truth Imaginations offers the most comprehensive and sophisticated treatment of post-truth phenomena to date. The book adopts the standpoint of Science and Technology Studies, the field that has been at the heart of the matter from day one. The editors are to be congratulated for the range of voices heard in these pages and the subtlety of the considerations – conceptual, empirical and practical – that they bring in coming to terms with our ‘post-truth condition’. The diagnoses and strategies proposed here are diverse, but there should be something here for anyone who has thought hard about post-truth, whether it be in the spirit of warm embrace or fear and loathing."
Steve Fuller, author of Post-Truth: Knowledge as a Power Game and A Player’s Guide to the Post-Truth Condition, UK
"This book offers a comprehensive overview of the various aspects of post-truth and a deep and novel understanding of its epistemology and politics. It is wide-ranging and deeply insightful, empirically rich and theoretically innovating. Post-Truth Imaginations moves beyond the immediate concerns of fake news, false evidence and failing science communication as it centres on one of the biggest questions of our times. What are the roles of science in society, the politics of technoscience and the public imaginations of democratically governed, science-permeated societies? These are crucial questions if we want to address the global challenges of climate change, pandemics and international justice."
Wiebe E. Bijker, Maastricht University and Norwegian University of Science and Technology, The Netherlands and Norway
"The notion of 'post-truth' harbors a romantic view on a now gone era of truth and certainty. The contributions in Post-Truth Imaginations not simply criticize this view as a glorification of the past, but skillfully uncover post-truth’s deep entanglements of Western ideas on knowledge and its publics. By so doing, they link the debate to fundamental cultural changes during the development of the political economy since the second half of the 20th century. The book is essential reading for scholars of technoscience, the history and philosophy of ideas, science studies as well as the many streams of social theory today."
Matthias Gross, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research and the University of Jena, Germany
"At a time when conspiracy theories are spreading like wildfire on social networks, when academies and governments are worried about the public's distrust of experts, it is more than ever appropriate to critically discuss the notion of a post-truth era. This collective volume provides a fine description of the cultural context of emergence of the imaginary of a new knowledge order, or disorder, characterized by the collapse of truth value. More importantly, it provides indispensable clues for making sense of the epistemic unsettledness brought about by technosciences. It will be the reference book for a deeper understanding of controversies on climate and vaccinations and more broadly of the technoscientific regime of research and innovation."
Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, France