Tricks with Transference: Naming in a Post-Truth World

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Journal Article
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University of Canterbury
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Warwick Tie

As we watch conspiracy theories, disinformation, fake news and the like infuse public debate with a post-truth mix of innuendo, suspicion, and specious claims, it has become popular to lament an increasing inability of ideas to connect with reality. The issue is not, as Alenka Zupančič observes, that we have lost the Real (for this has never been the human’s to have) but that we are witnessing a loss of the “capacity of naming that can have real effects.”0F1 We are missing, to draw on Stuart Hall,1F2 a critical approach to naming that “grip[s] the minds of masses, and thereby becomes ‘a material force’” upon our moment. We are witnessing a loss of those words that “can affect the economy of being because they come from the workings of this economy”—a loss of words that are simultaneously of our situation and able to transform it.

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