Poetics, Practices, Politics
Edited by Cecilia Cassinger, Andrea Lucarelli and Szilvia Gyimóthy
Chapter 16: Phantasmal brand Sweden and make-believe in political speech
This chapter examines the use of places as rhetorical placeholders for ideologies in the context of so called “post-truth” political discourse. By employing the nation of Sweden as a case, ordinary mythologies, narratives and states of affairs that are understood as being true are contrasted to statements and ideas that are presented as if true but generally understood as false, i.e. post truths. Post truths, herein approached as constituting their own form of conceptual media technology, are first examined on the level of their role as alternative mythologies, and are found to be possible to distinguish from ordinary mythologies simply on the basis of the understanding of their veracity. This raises the question of what function post-truth statements, as media, perform. We observe that Sweden offers a particularly interesting case in this context, as the political history and contemporary mediated presentation of the country ascribe it a role as symbolic proxy of particular ideological and political frameworks. We find that post truths enable the dispelling of ordinary mythologies by drawing focus on the tenuousness of their claim to an absolute truth, or reality, illuminated by the readily understood falsehood of post truth statements, a function which, in turn, allows post truths to operate as a form of political resistance.
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