The Problem of Trust in the Digital Public Sphere

On February 24th, 2022, the Social Science Matrix, the UC Berkeley Institute of European Studies, and the Center for British Studies co-sponsored an event with Prof. William Davies (Political Economy, Goldsmiths, University of London) that explored how the digitization of our public sphere has made trust harder to establish.

We have been repeatedly told in recent years that we live in an age of ‘post-truth’, in which experts no longer get heard and liars hold sway. But what if we focus instead on the adjacent problem of trust?

In this Matrix Distinguished Lecture, William Davies will explore how the digitization of our public sphere has made trust harder to establish, as the ideal of “facts” has been challenged by that of “real-time data,” and consequently altered the forms of allegiance, organization, and political coalitions that are possible. Drawing on his recent books, Nervous States: Democracy and the Decline of Reason and This Is Not Normal: The Collapse of Liberal Britain, Davies identifies pivotal ways in which liberal visions of the public sphere have been damaged, and what kinds of alternatives take their place.

About the Speaker

William Davies is Professor of Political Economy at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is author of The Limits of Neoliberalism (Sage, 2014), The Happiness Industry (Verso, 2015), Nervous States (Norton, 2019) and This Is Not Normal (Verso, 2020). He writes regularly for The Guardian and The London Review of Books.

NOTE: This is a hybrid event and will be held in person at the Social Science Matrix (8th Floor of SSB on the UC Berkeley Campus) with an option to join by Zoom. In person attendance is warmly encouraged, but please be sure to familiarized yourself with campus COVID protocols.

Location: Social Science Matrix (8th floor of SSB) and on Zoom

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