From Noelle Molé Liston, Senior Lecturer at New York University
Liston, Noelle Molé. The Truth Society: Science, Disinformation, and Politics in Berlusconi's Italy. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2020.
How does the way in which we know about the world shape who we think should rule it? The Truth Society seeks to understand how an era of Italian political spectacle, which regularly blurred fact and fiction, has shaped how people understand truth, particularly mass mediated information, and in turn, scientific knowledge and forms of governance. The book scrutinizes how Italy’s political culture of artifice has made some actors doubt science, while others disproportionately invest in its value. It examines Italy’s late 20th century political culture, particularly former Prime Minister and media mogul, Silvio Berlusconi. The fundamental premise is that seemingly disparate events and practices that have unfolded in Italy---its pro-science social movement, its cyber-utopian, digital populist and algorithmically democratic Five Star Movement and the city of L’Aquila’s trial against scientific disinformation—are historical reactions to mediatized political forms and particular ways of knowing. Politics, then, is always sutured to the material infrastructure of information: how knowledge is technologically structured, circulated and processed. The Truth Society offers Italy as a case study to understand the remaking of politics in an era of disinformation.