Retrieving Truth in a Post-Truth World: Drama in the Age of Reality Entertainment

The post-truth world is one in which the US President, in his first 100 days, reportedly misrepresented the truth almost 500 times. His administration has used phrases such as “alternative facts” and is known for “gaslighting” (the act of confusing and destabilizing an audience through persistent lying, misdirection, and contradiction). Much of this discourse has taken place on multi-billion-dollar social media platforms which profit from the spread of fake news and from which the illusion of a mass following is monetized, as the New York Times reported. This essay examines the issue of “post-truth” through two entertainment paradigms: a) reality entertainment, comprising citizen performance in news, social/new media, and reality television; and b) artistic performance in traditionally scripted drama. The aim is to compare the understanding and exploration of truth in both types of performance, linking the possibility of truth in drama to the ethical dimension of what is represented, and the level of critical freedom stemming from the dialogue created by the performance. Such “productive searches for truth” will be juxtaposed against the technological apparatus of modern dramatic forms in news, television, and online content, to establish how the loss of faith in truth is tied up in new trends of representation.

The Haunting Legacy of Edgar Allan Poe: Mystery and History

Edgar Allan Poe enjoys an enduring legacy in the United States, with historical landmarks connected to his penmanship and adaptations of his works continuing to appear in print and on screen. Poe proclaims his quest for “originality” in his work “Philosophy of Composition,” and his creative genius empowers him to traverse traditional social and national constraints. Unlike his pro-slavery contemporaries and the Abolitionists, his fiction and poetry introduce racial discourse with subtle discretion and unique autonomy. His gripping command over the literary genre of mystery intertwines the antebellum historical context of race relations into horror stories; cloaked in his ambivalent symbols are the heightened fears of racial violence and rebellion promoted by the institutions of slavery and colonial hegemony. Inspired by his own experience as an orphan and dispossessed child in a patriarchal society, Poe sets up vivid contrasts between the powerful and the disempowered. His plots are layered with allegorical mechanisms and dark images that encapsulate racial diversity and interracial entanglements of his time. Poe’s prophetic vision encompasses the haunting influence of disenfranchised populations and the imminent transformation of the cultural landscape for future generations, giving relevance to his works in the twenty-first century on questions of race relations and social justice.

Europeanization and Integration as Matters of Perception: Social Movements in a Theorized European Union Context

This article examines the concept of Europeanization from a Cognitive Constructivist approach beyond New Institutionalisms in Integration theories. The objective is to review the concept of EU integration as a resource for Europeanization, democratic culture, and institutions rather than a political consequence from the economic spillover. Referring to levels of sociological knowledge, ontology is assumed as the foundation of epistemology, which directs to empirical observations. The empirical grounding is then provided by considering significant interdisciplinary areas of Integration Theories and communication studies by adequately acknowledging existing literature on how Europeanization is conceptualized and by anchoring theoretical framework to events of societal mobilization in three nonmember states with European integration prospects. In the conceptual modeling of the article, cognitive concepts related to Integration Theories are used to help the reader understand and test the subject of Europeanization through the Norbert Elias model of integrating disciplinary perspectives and micro-macro level and theory-method-data. By relating the smallest parts (such as words in an actual discourse) to the largest wholes (such as general theories, social institutions, historical periods, and civilizations), the explanatory logic concludes that in representative democracies with autocratic tendencies, Europeanization is conceptualized as something to struggle and fight for rather than an automatic outcome. The effort to bring historical evidences from the ground through media reports and direct testimony of the events, in a comparative approach, aims to provide a more complete framework on recent events occurred almost contemporarily. The cases of the Albanian “November Movement,” Ukrainian “EuroMaiden,” and Turkish “Gezi Protests” are chosen for their assumed and proven similitude of new political actors such as civil society, protesters, investigative and social media, and human rights international organizations or observers present in domestic environment. The article demonstrates the role played by assumptions, emotions, and instincts in building theoretical perspectives of European integration in both economic and political terms. On the other hand, it recommends that the interchanging of the New Institutionalisms as suggested by Hall and Taylor may be the appropriate approach to understand local events and the influence played by the sociopolitical context in Integration Theory and the concept of Europeanization.