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Post-truth anthropology

Mair, Jonathan (2017) Post-truth anthropology. Anthropology Today, 33 (3). pp. 3-4. ISSN 0268-540X. E-ISSN 1467-8322. (doi:10.1111/1467-8322.12346) (KAR id:62058)

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Countless commentators have announced the advent of the post-truth era, but while everyone seems to be talking about it, there is little agreement about what it really means. This article argues that anthropology can make an important and distinctive contribution to understanding post-truth by treating it ethnographically. Commonly proposed explanations for post-truth include changes in political culture, in the structure of information in the digital age and universal cognitive weaknesses that limit people's capacity for critical thought. While all these are likely important factors, they do not account for the role of culture in creating and sustaining post-truth. In fact, it is likely that culture, especially in the form of metacognition, or thought about thought, plays an important role by providing knowledge practices, techniques for allocating attention, and especially competing theories of truth. Ethnographic methods provide anthropologists with a distinctive window on post-truth cultures of metacognition.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1111/1467-8322.12346
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
Depositing User: Jonathan Mair
Date Deposited: 14 Jun 2017 08:09 UTC
Last Modified: 01 Jun 2019 23:00 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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