New book by Anna Schor-Tschudnowskaja & Gerhard Benetka (published in German)

Where does so much “post-truth” come from?

In this essay we want to devote ourselves to a young phenomenon that has many names. Terms like “post-truth”, “post-factual age” as well as “crisis of rationality” or “the end of unambiguity” (Zygmunt Bauman) should help to confront the perceived new situation. The media and political rhetoric are increasingly characterised by “alternative facts” or “fake news”, the trust of the addressees is lost. Many other areas of society are also permeated by this remarkable doubt about objectivity and the “reality of reality” (Luc Boltanski).

For many authors, the situation of post-truth represents the postmodern situation par excellence. They often refer to the works of Bruno Latour and Zygmunt Bauman or recent studies on the effects of virtuality. But the post-factual attitude, which accuses facts and realities of serving only arbitrariness and manipulation per se, also shows remarkable parallels to the constructivist settings in the social sciences. These theoretical parallels will be examined in more detail. The debates within science about the objectivity of “scientific facts” and the social power that is linked to this objectivity must also be examined more closely in this context.

Last but not least, a historical review shows to what extent the obvious or, for the time being, only anticipated precarious consequences of post-truth for democratic politics already have established historical predecessors. As much as the postmodern roots of post-truth were intended to be anti-totalitarian, the same post-truth paradoxically has quite totalitarian co-founders.

The authors

Anna Schor-Tschudnowskaja (PhD), sociologist and psychologist, researches political culture, social change and social thought; currently assistant professor at the Faculty of Psychology at Sigmund Freud University (Vienna).

Gerhard Benetka (Univ.-Prof. Dr.), Dean of the Faculty of Psychology at Sigmund Freud University (Vienna); his research focuses on the history of science and the philosophy of science of psychology and psychoanalysis.

Anna Schor-Chudnovskaya / Gerhard Benetka


On the origin and meaning of a term that has become fashionable

Relations. Essays on the Present, vol. 15

Softcover, 12 x 19 cm, 110 pages, 128 g
Publication date: 16.12.2021
ISBN: 978-3-95808-334-9
published by Neofelis Verlag (in German)