Towards a New Paradigm on Post-Truth: Discourse and Affect.
In this study, I re-frame the concept of post-truth as political discourse, dissociating it from the mainstream conceptualisation with misinformation and supremacy of emotionality influencing public opinion. This study performs four tasks. First, I steer the discussion on post-truth away from the ‘misinformation’ and ‘objective facts’ dichotomy, disassociating it from the overemphasis on misinformation and the fixation of ‘post’ to be something after truth which is inherently negative. Second, I delineate a theoretical framework contextualised within the ambit of political theory, and ideology and discourse analysis, to conceptualise post-truth discourse. Third, I develop an operational definition of post-truth discourse to be tested empirically. Fourth, I apply my theory to Pakistan as a case study, whereby I implement two empirical analyses: the first identifying post-truth discourse in newspaper reporting, and the second an experimental design investigating the effect of post-truth discourses on political behaviour. I argue that post-truth discourse has significant effects on political ideologies' polarisation, manipulation of public policy, and endangering democratic institutions' trust. Among the main implications of my research, I describe how these behaviours have the potential to start democratic backsliding processes or undermine democratic institutions. Furthermore, I highlight the far-reaching implications of conceptualising post-truth as a political discourse for developing countries where political polarisation can have striking impacts on the field, such as elections, regime stability, and regime-society relationship. This study has attempted to re-conceptualise post-truth in a manner where the novelty of post-truth is questioned, the element of truthfulness is examined, and the conceptualisation of post-truth discourse is empirically tested. The shift in thinking about post-truth as a political discourse advances our understanding of post-truth and expands the scope of empirical work in the field. It provides us with new tools with which researchers can dissect the populist discourses of our times.
Essex : University of Essex, Department of Government , 2022
270 p.
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Creation 11.10.2023
Last edited 11.10.2023
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