<synthesis> Just out: Media, Technology and Education in a Post-Truth Society

Geert Lovink geert at xs4all.nl
Wed Aug 25 14:11:56 CEST 2021

Media, Technology and Education in a Post-Truth Society: From Fake News, Datafication and Mass Surveillance to the Death of Trust, edited by Alex Grech


This interdisciplinary collection of essays explores the impact of media, emerging technologies, and education on the resilience of the so-called post-truth society. This book explores if a return to civic participation, enhanced critical media literacy, journalism for the public good, techno-interventions and lifelong learning systems can collectively foster a more engaged global citizenry.

The post-truth society is associated with a raft of terms that challenge the very notion of what should constitute a democratic and inclusive society: the decline and fall of reason; the disruption of the public sphere; the spread of misleading information; fake news; culture wars; the rise of subjectivity; the co-opting of language; filters, silos and tribes; attention deficits; trolls, polarisation and hyper-partisanship; the conversion of popularity into legitimacy; manipulation by "populist"; leaders, governments, and fringe actors; algorithmic control, targeted messaging and native advertising; surveillance and platform capitalism.

The contributions from scholars, technologists, policy-makers and activists raise critical questions about the nature and power of knowledge in the 21st century. Readers are challenged to question their own role in perpetuating certain narratives and to also understand the lived context of people on all sides of a given debate. The diverse perspectives by geography, sector, gender and world-views will widen the appeal of this work to an international audience trying to understand the resilience of the post-truth society. 

Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9781800439078
Published: 08 Jul 2021
Publisher: Emerald Publishing Limited
Dimensions: 312 pages - 229 x 152mm
Series: Digital Activism And Society: Politics, Economy And Culture In Network Communication <https://books.emeraldinsight.com/page/series-detail/Digital-Activism-And-Society-Politics-Economy-And-Culture-In-Network-Communication>


The backstory for this book <https://books.emeraldinsight.com/page/detail/Media-Technology-and-Education-in-a-PostTruth-Society/?K=9781800439078> is on record, in a whimsical video in June 2019 <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUDjbOflA50>,  media interviews <https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/we-are-edging-to-a-world-where-reality-is-a-matter-of-personal-opinion.725056> and the filmed proceedings of a two-day international conference in Malta in October 2019 <https://connectedlearning.edu.mt/videos-post-truth-conference/>, convened with media scholars, blockchain experts, film-makers, philosophers, anthropologists, politicians, public prosecutors, data lawyers, bankers, activists, journalists, rock star technology editors and teenage students. The conference was activist by design. Assemble a bunch of brilliant thinkers and doers, get them to spar around the esoteric subject of the post-truth society in a historic building in Valletta, and develop a collective manifesto to combat post-truths. By the end of the two days, the plan was for the 3CL to set up an interdisciplinary global network and reconvene in a different geographical context early in 2020 and explore pilot projects for collaboration.

The pandemic shelved many big ideas and plans. When the world closes down, the premise is that the failings of the post-truth society are swept away in the collective, urgent need to secure factual information, survive, adjust to a new age of social distancing and prepare for probable, impending economic collapse. Instead, with the pandemic in its second wave, this collection surfaces with contributions from some of the original cohort in far-flung places, and others who reached out after the conference. Perhaps a book is an unexpected but necessary deviation from the intended pathway. It also may be a more permanent and resilient outcome in the age of the often temporary, fleeting and forgotten outputs in digital format.
The problem remains

You would think that in the ongoing crisis, fake news, trolls, platform capitalism, misinformation, bankrupt education systems and mistrust in emerging technologies would have taken a back seat. If anything, the pandemic has taken a megaphone to the challenges of the post-truth society: accusations that social media is “killing people” <https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-57870778> or the call for governments to regulate tech platforms <https://www.cfr.org/in-brief/social-media-and-online-speech-how-should-countries-regulate-tech-giants> as media outlets are now mainstream stories.  On June 25th, I joined an expert panel convened by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) <https://www.osce.org/representative-on-freedom-of-media/490340> on disinformation and self-regulation in the digital society. Inevitably, my presentation dovetailed into the need for a better understanding of the various intersections between media, technology and education to identify pragmatic solutions that may help society tunnel out of the current historic impasse. My slides for the OSCE meeting are available on this link. <https://www.osce.org/representative-on-freedom-of-media/491695>
Beyond the book

At the 3CL, digital and media literacies are cornerstones of our strategic plan. We continue to research and monitor the linkages between emerging technologies and disinformation, and facilitate the development of content-rich projects which may in turn be shared as a public good. This is also activist work and we will get back to organising face to face encounters on these topics once we can safely assemble a group of people in the same physical space.

Media, Education and the Post-Truth Society is available in print and digital format from all online stores, including Emerald <https://books.emeraldinsight.com/page/detail/Media-Technology-and-Education-in-a-PostTruth-SocietyMedia,-Technology-and-Education-in-a-Post-Truth-Society/?k=9781800439078>, Amazon <http://aerapscience.org/> and Book Depository <https://www.bookdepository.com/Media-Technology-Education-Post-Truth-Society-Alex-Grech/9781800439078>. Online inspection copies are available from Emerald via this link <https://emeraldinsight-einspections.eb20.com/>.

Alex Grech



Chapter 1. Introduction; Alex Grech 

PART 1. Repurposing Education for the Post-Truth Society 
Chapter 2. Post-truth Society: Toward a Dialogical Understanding of Truth; John P. Portelli and Soudeh Oladi 
Chapter 3. Macro Authorities and Micro Literacies: The New Terrain of Information Politics; Bryan Alexander 
Chapter 4. The Learning Challenge in the 21st Century; Harry Anthony Patrinos 
Chapter 5. The Pre-Truth Era in MENA, News Ecology and Critical News Literacy; Abeer Al-Najjar 
Chapter 6. Critical Literacy is at the Heart of an Answer; Emma Pauncefort 
Chapter 7. Societal Reorientation via Programmable Trust: A Case for Piloting New Models of Open Governance in Education; Walter Fernando Balser, Steve Diasio and Taylor Kendal 

PART 2. Repurposing Media for the Post-Truth Society 
Chapter 8. Fact to Fake: The Media World as It Was and Is Today; Michael Bugeja 
Chapter 9. Post-News Journalism in the Post-Enlightenment Era; Hossein Derakhshan 
Chapter 10. How Can Wikipedia Save Us All? Assuming Good Faith from All Points of View in the Age of Fake News and Post-truth; Toni Sant 
Chapter 11. Public Rebuttal, Reflection and Responsibility. Or, an Inconvenient Answer to Fake News; Ruben Brave 
Chapter 12. The Kony 2012 Campaign: A Milestone of Visual Storytelling for Social Engagement; Massimiliano Fusari 
Chapter 13. Post-truth Visuals, Untruth Visuals; Gorg Mallia 
Chapter 14. Reflections on the Visual Truth and War Photography - A Historian’s Perspective; Anna Topolska 
Chapter 15. It is Time for Journalists to Save Journalism; Lina Zuluaga and Phillip Long 

PART 3. Future-proofing for the Post-Truth Society 
Chapter 16. Karl Marx and the Blockchain; Devraj Basu and Murdoch J. Gabbay 
Chapter 17. Two Sides to Every Story. The Truth, Post-truth, and the Blockchain Truth; Joshua Ellul, Alex Grech, and Gordon Pace
Chapter 18. Decentralised Verification Technologies and the Web; Allan Third and John Domingue 
Chapter 19. How Do We Know What is True?; Natalie Smolenksi 
Chapter 20: Social Technologies and their Unplanned Obsolescence; Daniel Hughes 

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