Introduction: Post-truth and the Mediation of Reality
Our contemporary moment is fixated on arbitrating and articulating ‘reality’. With the spectre of buzzwords like ‘fake news’ and ‘post-truth’ we find a scramble to locate or fix some sort of universal, immovable ‘real’ beneath what are positioned as ‘fake’ articulations and discourse. In this context, it seems as though modern rationality has been dangerously discarded and replaced by a strange form of powerful irrationality, in which it is difficult to distinguish the illusory from the real. Often the arbitration of reality is placed in the hands of the media as well as academics. To be literate and savvy is to be able to ascertain the real from the fake. Nonetheless, media and, again, academia (particularly through the so-called ‘postmodern turn’), are simultaneously blamed as producing the apparent crisis of realness. To engage with this crisis, this collection proposes the need for a new conjuncture in communication and cultural studies of media. Building on Stuart Hall’s understanding of ‘conjuncture’ (1978, 1988, 2010) as a way of grasping moments within hegemonic struggle we suggest that—with the ascent of social media as a key site for the enactment of increasingly embodied politics—the current moment requires a revitalization of the concept of conjuncture. In particular, this collection confronts questions of how to grapple with mediated politics (Twitter, Facebook, television, etc.) in what has been dubbed a ‘post-truth’ era. Post-Truth and the Mediation of Reality grapples with a conjunctural approach through a broad-fronted engagement with multiple sites of mediations of reality. It considers constructions of reality in terms of discursive representation in popular media, but also how realness (that thing we seemed to have misplaced in the context of ‘post-truth’) works as a site for an affective fantasy for bearable, cognisant spaces and sites in which the election of Trump, the encroaching disaster of climate change, the ongoing revelations around #NotAllMen, and other sites in which it becomes an issue. It is divided into three sections: ‘Location’, ‘Crisis’ and ‘Symptom’.
KeywordsFake news Post-truth Conjuncture Cultural studies Media studies
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