This is not an essay about Trump

Winter 2019
DOI: 10.3898/SOUN.73.04.2019

We are living through a period of chaotic transition, in which the politics of affect are playing an ever-increasing role.

The most common starting point for discussions of US politics assumes that the population is rigidly polarised, that we are a nation at war with itself, engaged in a ‘war of manoeuvre’ between two camps - Us versus Them, good and evil. Each camp is confident about who belongs in it: if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. Both sides present themselves as the defenders of true American values, as representing the insurgent people - one side standing against a failed, self-righteous and bloated establishment that has created a culture of dependency, the other against a long history of the dominant structures of inequality and injustice. Once the sides have been established, both are free to construct the other as an existential threat to the nation.

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