Though “fake news” and “alternative facts” have predominantly been discussed with reference to the US and Western Europe, this issue of State of Affairs will mainly focus on the former Warsaw Pact countries, where the negotiation of truth has a specific history. After 1989, Marxism lost its official monopoly on interpretation to other – often “Western” – truth regimes. Yet dissidents and social movements, after having emphatically (re-)claimed “truth” as a weapon against regimes before 1989, have since lost their impact, perhaps as an effect of political pluralization and/or the digital atomization of perspectives.
These shifts in epistemological landscapes cannot be observed and described easily along the well-known lines of propaganda, information, disinformation, and so forth. The idea of this issue of State of Affairs is to systematically assess such changes. We will therefore examine the practical contexts in which truth claims are embedded, the (trans-)formation or (de-)stabilization of “truth scenes” (e.g., the trial) and “truth figures.” We want to take a closer look at the shift(s) of truth regimes from the heyday of the Cold War in the 1960s until today. We will pay special attention to the transformation of the media settings for information flows, and the processes of forming public opinion in relation to the complicated history of (Eastern) Europe’s political epistemologies. Of course, it is not only in the US or in post-Soviet spaces that these phenomena can be spotted. Therefore, we are very interested in comparative case studies involving other global regions, without specific post-Soviet experiences.