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Dr Andrew Calcutt
journalism and society programme leader at the University of East London, and editor of Rising East

Causality…is the first casualty of the absence of politics.

The origins of journalism are in politics: the factual existed to inform the political. Modern journalism was concerned with the causes of things, and this concern for causality was itself rooted in great causes - progress, democracy, freedom - and the contests which ensued over them.

With the suspension of such contests, we also experience the unravelling of causality. Either everything and anything are the causes of everything and anything else (conspiracy and/or chaos theory), or nothing is determined. Events are only ‘articulated’ with others, which is to say they are seen to be related but in ways never fully specified.

The collapse of causality unnerves journalism and has a corrosive effect on society. Causality needs to be addressed professionally and societally in order that we may avoid becoming less enlightened in 2024.

Andrew Calcutt is author of books including Brit Cult: An A-Z of British Pop Culture (buy this book from Amazon (UK) or Amazon (USA)), and White Noise: An A-Z of the Contradictions in Cyberculture (buy this book from Amazon (UK) or Amazon (USA)).

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