Understanding Emotions in Post-Factual Politics


Understanding Emotions in Post-Factual Politics

Negotiating Truth

9781788114813 Edward Elgar Publishing
Anna Durnová, Professor of Political Sociology, Department of Sociology, University of Vienna, Austria
Publication Date: 2019 ISBN: 978 1 78811 481 3 Extent: 176 pp
Post-factual politics has united scientists and civil society in a public defence of truth, however, the battle may already have been lost to a binarity of facts and emotions. Analysing and comparing scientists’ protests against the Trump presidency with famous scientific controversies in modern medicine, this innovative book redefines truth as a negotiation in public discourse between the interplay of values, beliefs and facts. It shows that in order to understand post-factual politics we must unveil emotion’s role in knowledge-making.

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An insightful lens into the contemporary state of post-factual politics, this timely book explores the perceived binary nature of facts and emotions, suggesting ways to integrate them. Anna Durnová shows that in order to understand post-factual politics, we must unveil the role of emotion in the discursive registers through which politics is constructed and knowledge is legitimized.

By analysing and comparing scientists’ protests against the Trump presidency with famous scientific controversies in modern medicine, this book redefines truth as a negotiation in public discourse between the interplay of values, beliefs and facts. Chapters examine the ways in which people see emotions as being opposed to facts, unpacking how this ultimate opposition limits public discussion on science in the wake of alternative facts and ‘fake news’.

Political science students and academics will find the new discussion of post-factual politics through the lens of emotions a timely and important read. This book is also ideal for social movements scholars with the March for Science a key case study used to examine the gap between emotions and facts in modern day times.

Critical Acclaim
‘Durnová’s book is a rare insight into the nexus of emotionality and science. At the same time, it presents the foundations of the debate around post-factual politics, while providing us with a solution.’
– Theofanis Exadaktylos, International Review of Public Policy

‘Understanding Emotions in Post-Factual Politics is a seminal, ground-breaking work of simply outstanding scholarship – making it unreservedly recommended for college and university library Contemporary Political Science collections and supplemental curriculum studies reading lists.’
– Midwest Book Review

‘The defense of science as being free of human passions is worse than ineffective. It is part of the problem, driving public alienation from the scientific enterprise, while blinding us to the causes of that alienation. Durnova’s original analysis points to a way forward that refuses to censor the emotions that lie at the heart of the production of truth.’
– Daniel Breslau, Virginia Tech, US

‘How do we negotiate the topsy-turvy world of ‘the post-factual condition’? That’s the timely question Anna Durnová poses with her important new book. Citizens responding to brazen demagoguery must now protest ‘for reality’. It can get emotional, as the quest for truth usually is. Durnová offers insights crucial to the way ahead.’
– Douglas Torgerson, Trent University, Canada, and author of The Promise of Green Politics: Environmentalism and the Public Sphere

‘Social research should provide counterintuitive insights, and this book does precisely that, questioning how we tend to juxtapose emotions and facts. Whilst developing broader historical insights, it is also remarkably relevant to the current era.’
– Patrick Baert, University of Cambridge, UK

‘In this timely book, Durnová provides a critical inquiry of truth production in politics. By examining how facts, and our understanding of them, are mediated by human emotions, the author unravels the role of affect in the uses of science in policy-making. By making visible the emotional boundaries where values meet beliefs, Durnova exposes how and what scientific expertise gains social and political authority. This volume is thoughtful, authoritative and engaging; it is a must-read for scholars, students and practitioners seeking to understand the contours of the puzzle of post-factual politics.’
– Claire A. Dunlop, University of Exeter, UK
Contents: Introduction To Post-Factual Politics 1. The Lost Battle On Truth 2. Vexatious Knowledge 3. The Partisans Of Truth 4. Understanding Emotions In The Post-Factual World Index

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