From Postfiction to Protofiction: Conspiracy Theory, Social Networks, and Confabulation

Bennett, T. 2011. From Postfiction to Protofiction: Conspiracy Theory, Social Networks, and Confabulation. Dandelion: Postgraduate Arts Journal and Research Network. 1 (1). https://doi.org/10.16995/ddl.233

TitleFrom Postfiction to Protofiction: Conspiracy Theory, Social Networks, and Confabulation
TypeJournal article
AuthorsBennett, T.
Abstract

The pursuit and critique of truth has often been considered a rather lofty affair, traditionally confined to religious, philosophical and scientific circles. If, as Gill Partington suggests in the first issue of Dandelion, trashy Christian apocalyptic thrillers exemplify a ‘postfictional’ mode of engagement with truth that the current climate of networked media and user interactivity precipitates, then we may ask how it fits in with a wider, ‘protofictional’ approach to making sense of the world that has surfaced alongside the development of such a climate. Conspiracy theory, computer games, online ‘social networking’ and the ‘postfictional’ novel, as well as recent neuroscientific research, all point towards a reality that is constructed and interpreted as fiction, yet experienced just as (or even more) authentically than ‘real life’. Might popular and fringe developments like these demonstrate a significant human response to the baffling techno-bureaucratic excesses of modernity? The pursuit and critique of truth has often been considered a rather lofty affair, traditionally confined to religious, philosophical, and scientific circles. If, as Gill Partington suggests in the first issue of Dandelion , trashy Christian apocalyptic thrillers exemplify a ‘postfictional’ mode of engagement with truth which the current climate of networked media and user interactivity precipitates, then we may ask how it fits in with a wider, ‘protofictional’ approach to making sense of the world that has surfaced alongside the development of such a climate. Conspiracy theory, computer games, online ‘social networking’, and the ‘postfictional’ novel, as well as recent neuroscientific research, all point towards a reality that is constructed and interpreted as fiction, yet experienced just as (or even more) authentically than ‘real life’. Might popular and fringe developments like these demonstrate a significant human response to the baffling techno-bureaucratic excesses of modernity?

JournalDandelion: Postgraduate Arts Journal and Research Network
Journal citation1 (1)
ISSN2048-1322
Year2011
PublisherBirkbeck, University of London (publisher)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.16995/ddl.233
Publication dates
PublishedJan 2011

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