Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Wimberly, C.
The birth of the post-truth era a genealogy of corporate public relations, propaganda, and Trump
(2021) Journal of Speculative Philosophy, 35 (2), pp. 130-146.

DOI: 10.5325/jspecphil.35.2.0130
Open access

In the early twentieth century, the most numerous and well-funded institutions in the United States—corporations—used public relations to make widespread and fundamental changes in the way they constitute and regulate their relations of knowledge with the public. Today, we can see this change reflected in a variety of areas such as journalism, political outreach, social media, and in the claims that we live in “post-truth” society. This article traces practices of corporate truth-telling and knowledge production across three periods I call the personal, the legal, and public relations, which are roughly coincident with the antebellum period, the Gilded Age, and the twentieth century, respectively. In sum, what can be found in corporate propaganda and now broadly across society, is that relations of knowledge have come to be refigured primarily as relations of power, subordinating traditional epistemological concerns like justification and belief in favor of government and control.

Author Keywords
Governmentality; Michel foucault; Power; Produser; Social media

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