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Pre-Truth: Fake News, Semiological Guerrilla Warfare, and Some Other Media and Communication “Revolutions”

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Abstract:  In this article, I will work on the idea of Pre-Truth (as opposed to post-truth) and Semiological Guerrilla (as opposed to fake news), claiming that these two concepts are better equipped to explain what is happening in our contemporary societies, especially if we take into account the world of media and communication. In the first part of the article, I will frame the problems of fake news and post-truth within the dynamics characterizing the relationships between knowledge and power. Taking into account Foucault and Latour’s perspectives, I argue that the problem of fake news can be understood as a new kind of relationship between these two instances, previously stably coupled and in the hands of institutional power. Later, I will deal with three different meanings of “fake news,” that are usually blended and confused: (a) serendipity, (b) false belief, and (c) mendacity. Consequently, I will deal with the problem of “Semiological Guerrilla Warfare,” arguing that the new shape of the “knowledge-power relationship” rendered alternative and non-institutionally certified interpretations the norm. Eventually, I will identify the deep cause of this effect in the machinic production of documents provided by new technologies, causing a return of the medieval sense of “truth” as “trust,” independent from knowledge and strictly related to anecdotes and personal experiences. Finally, I will work on the concept of “truth” connected to technology, trying to reveal its genealogy with the aim of explaining some misleading contemporary beliefs on “post-truth.”

Keywords:  post-truth; fake news; semiological guerrilla warfare; semiotics; experience and knowledge

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/mac.v11i2.6628


© Claudio Paolucci. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.