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Post-Truth, Fake News, and Democracy (2019)

(Publisher : Routledge)

Author(s) : Johan Farkas & Jannick Schou

Johan Farkas is a PhD Fellow in Media and Communication Studies at Malmö University, Sweden. Farkas has published in international journals such as New Media & Society, Critical Discourse Studies and the Brown Journal of World Affairs. Overall, his research interests lie at the intersection of digital media platforms, politics, civic engagement, journalism, and democracy. Since 2018, Farkas has been the Chair of the Young Scholars Network of the European Communication Research and Education Association (YECREA).


Jannick Schou (PhD) researches questions of politics, citizenship and democracy, particularly in relation to digital technology and European welfare states. He is the author of several monographs and more than a dozen publications in renowned international journals. In 2018, he was awarded the Swedish Political Science Association’s (SWEPSA) prize for best young researcher.



The authors examine the normative ideas and political beliefs in contemporary thought about post-truth. They show the ways that democracy has failed to confront the crisis and explores alternative ideas and methods for coming to grips with this wicked political phenomenon.


Western societies are under siege, as fake news, post-truth and alternative facts are undermining the very core of democracy. This dystopian narrative is currently circulated by intellectuals, journalists and policy makers worldwide. In this book, Johan Farkas and Jannick Schou deliver a comprehensive study of post-truth discourses. They critically map the normative ideas contained in these and present a forceful call for deepening democracy.

The dominant narrative of our time is that democracy is in a state of emergency caused by social media, changes to journalism and misinformed masses. This crisis needs to be resolved by reinstating truth at the heart of democracy, even if this means curtailing civic participation and popular sovereignty. Engaging with critical political philosophy, Farkas and Schou argue that these solutions neglect the fact that democracy has never been about truth alone: it is equally about the voice of the democratic people.


Post-Truth, Fake News and Democracy delivers a sobering diagnosis of our times. It maps contemporary discourses on truth and democracy, foregrounds their normative foundations and connects these to historical changes within liberal democracies. The book will be of interest to students and scholars studying the current state and future of democracy, as well as to a politically informed readership

Table of contents


1. Introduction

2. Political Theory in Post-Factual Times

Part 1: Into Post-Truth Worlds

3. Prophecies of Post-Truth

4. US Politics in Post-Truth Worlds

5. Restoring Democracy

Part 2: Out of Post-Truth Worlds

6. Post-Truth and Post-Politics: Splitting the Difference

7. Ways Out? Truth, Technology, Democracy

8. Conclusion: Looking to the Future


Bibliographic Information

Johan Farkas and Jannick Schou, Post-truth, fake news, and democracy: Mapping the politics of falsehood, Routledge: New York, NT, 2019, 166pp.; ISBN: 9780367322175


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