VIENNA, Nov. 28, 2017 /CNW/ - In a new series of online articles launched by the Eurozine network of cultural journals, 13 cultural journalists and academics from across Europe, plus U.S. writers, examine in-depth the phenomena of fake news, post-truth and disinformation.
Eurozine's focal point 'Disinformation and Democracy' combines empirical studies at national levels with theoretical discussion of the politics of post-truth; analyses of contemporary developments with intellectual and conceptual histories; and investigations of the political fringes, asking: what now constitutes democratic 'normality'?
It's impossible to ignore Russia's role in these phenomena. Markus Wehner gives an overview of the strategy and techniques of Russian 'infowar'; Anton Shekhovtsov traces how far-right groups across Europe and the U.S. use Russian web-hosting to spread anti-western propaganda; and Daniel Leisegang assesses the effectiveness of Germany's new law on online hate speech and fake news, given the virtual migration to the Runet. Shifting the focus to eastern Europe, Milena Iakimova and Dimitar Vatsov explore how, in Bulgaria, Russian propaganda has co-opted western grassroots criticism of liberalism and globalization since 2013. They note:
'[W]e were ... amazed when we started hearing the talking points identified by our study now coming from the mouth of the new U.S. President, Donald Trump.'
From dialectical materialism to neoliberalism, any politics that lays claims to the truth is both illusory and dangerous, argues Jean-Claude Monod. Political scientist Joseph Uscinski explores the relationship between conspiracy theorizing and partisanship in the U.S., pointing out:
'[I]f one wants to challenge mainstream wisdom, conspiracy theories are an excellent rhetorical device for doing so.'
Providing historical perspective, Marci Shore compares western intellectuals' response to the disappointment of 'real-existing communism' with that of the dissidents who lived under it: can a radical concept of truth counter the threat of 'post-modern dictatorships'? And Valentin Groebner traces a thread of fakery in 'news' right back to the Middle Ages.
All the focal point texts are available in English in Eurozine: http://www.eurozine.com/focal-points/disinformation-and-democracy/
This editorial collaboration within the Eurozine network continued via a series of panel discussions at the 28th European Meeting of Cultural Journals in Tartu, Estonia in October 2017.
The discussions can be viewed on YouTube: http://bit.ly/2ADE5tg