Feminist takes on post-truth

Catherine Koekoek*, Emily Zakin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
122 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

This volume argues that feminist theory can provide distinctive and potent resources to confront and take on post-truth. By ‘post-truth’, we refer to a variety of discourses and practices that subvert the sense that we share a common world. Because post-truth undermines the norms and conditions that make possible shared political practices and institutions, post-truth politics is fundamentally anti-democratic. The most common response to post-truth has, however, come from those who call for reinstating truth and rationality, with special emphasis on returning to the facts and fact-checking. From a feminist perspective, this approach is worrisome as it risks idealizing the connection between democracy and truth, disowning the tensions within and between them, and suppressing contestation tout court. Diagnosing the post-truth moment we face two challenges: on the one hand, there is too much contestation (of the post-truth variety); on the other hand, there is too much depoliticization (of the technocratic or rationalist variety). This binary effectively limits the space within which critiques of post-truth can meaningfully intervene. Feminist takes on post-truth must take seriously this dual challenge at the crossroads of depoliticization and hyper-politicization, acknowledging the anti-democratic dangers of post-truth while keeping open the possibility and necessity of contestation. Our gambit is that effective rejoinders to post-truth can be found in practices that affirm rather than repudiate a plural world. Rather than simply condemning or dismissing post-truth as mad or irrational, the feminist theorists in this volume move closer to what we’re up against in order to see how encounters with reality provide opportunities to radicalize and politicize our relation to it in ways that do not undermine the conditions for others to do the same. This volume is an attempt to open new, and emphasize existing, feminist modes of response that might break the deadlock in the post-truth discourse.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-138
Number of pages14
JournalPhilosophy and Social Criticism
Volume49
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Feb 2023

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© The Author(s) 2023.

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