Article

It just feels right: Affective veridiction in the era of post-Truth

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Abstract

When considered in the context of affect theory, post-Truth is quite plausible. Affects come from deep inside of us, convincing us of their prominence over everything else, including rational thought. The embodied quality of affects leads to their misconception as fact. Because affects are felt so powerfully, they are often believed over anything that may indicate something contradictory. The post-Truth world is an affective imaginary where people who do not believe consensual facts and truths as they are presented are offered established alternatives. Through the lens of affect these alternative facts are better understood as affective facts. Affective facts are perceived and trusted as facts. The major achievement of rightwing populist movements is their creation of a fully operational logical apparatus that functions through affect, so that any information it comes across is filtered through and recoded according to affective facts and truths. That they are based in lies is irrelevant. In this context there is no possibility of the fabled "speaking truth to power". Old forms of resistance are outmaneuvered by an emergent politics of competing affects. The new master narratives are intensity and confusion, where affect gives semblance to a new ontology of governance. Michel Foucault discussed this as the notion of veridiction, where truth is constructed for populations in order to align them with state rationality. We are witnessing the far-right in the U.S. attempt an extreme experiment in veridiction. Through a case study of the 2016 election campaign and first 100 hundred days of Trump's presidency, we aim to explore attempts by the far right in the U.S. to harness affect and cultivate a new regime of truth, an alternate reality for supporters. © 2017 Vita e Pensiero/Pubblicazioni dell'Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore.

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