Truth and Lies Under Platform Capitalism

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups:
Poster #:
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM (Eastern Standard Time)
Room: Bayside B, Sheraton, 4th Floor
Organizers: Chris Collinge
Chairs: Chris Collinge


“A lie can travel half-way round the world while the truth is still putting on its boots”. As the power of the market grows (through, for example, platform capitalism), so the value of truth is eroded. Following 2007 people have become more susceptible to the appeal of ‘truthiness’. Open any news outlet and you are likely to be assaulted by the implausible, the incredible or the frankly preposterous. This affects not only our understanding of the past (through, for example, Holocaust denial) but also our planning for the future (through, for example, climate change denial). The adversarial system seems to be part of the problem, with attempts to produce balanced news playing into the hands of the propagandists. Whilst the truth must always remain provisional, the false will pass itself off as final. It is only through irony and satire that truth has the confidence to stand up for itself. Academic critiques of naive correspondence theories make the endorsement of truth appear gauche. Ways must be found to combine such critiques with the reassertion of truth value. In this session scholars are invited to go out on a limb, and to consider the following:

• the recovery of truth-value from critiques of correspondence, knowledge/power, actor-networks,
post-colonialism, (non)representation;
• the propaganda strategies of banks, oil and gas companies, advertising and PR agencies, AI and digital platforms,
governments, intelligence and hacking agencies;
• the conditions (social, technological, economic, geographical, political) that have prepared the ground for an
explosion of opinion, rumour, rhetoric, conspiracy, hate;
• the resistance to denialism, and the way that this resistance is being fought out scientifically, politically,
philosophically, legally, rhetorically;
• the methodologies of truth (financial, sociological, algorithmic, mathematical, tactical, interpersonal) upon which
successful falsehoods depend;
• contradictions, strategies and conditions that resist falsehoods and promote an awareness of truth.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Chris Collinge*, Birmingham University, Power/propaganda: the epistemology of Brexit 20 8:00 AM
Presenter Anna Johnson*, California State University - Long Beach, An Inconvenient Narrative: analyzing "An Inconvenient Truth" and "An Inconvenient Sequel" using critical discourse analysis 20 8:20 AM
Presenter Michael Bell*, University of Wisconsin - Madison, How Can They Get Away With Saying That? The Social and Ecological Relations of Protected Narratives 20 8:40 AM
Presenter Abdul Aijaz*, Indiana University, Questioning Fact/Fiction Binary: Hydrosocial Relations in the Indus Basin 20 9:00 AM
Presenter Matt Ellis*, , Russia's Modern Hybrid Warfare Threat and NATO's Response: Lessons from Georgia, Crimea, and Ukraine 20 9:20 AM

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