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VIDEO DOI: https://doi.org/10.48448/zak9-fa45


AAA Annual Meeting 2021

November 18, 2021

Baltimore, United States

Infrastructures of populism: material traces, digital networks, and financial assemblages



material culture/materiality


In a March 2020 essay in The Atlantic, writer Yasmeen Serhan suggested that the term “populism” has become so widely deployed that it essentially represents “that which we do not like.” Indeed it so regularly references Trump’s supporters and white nationalism as well as Brexit, The Netherland’s Geert Wilders, Marine Le Pen in France, and other xenophobic neo-nationalist movements that it often means both racist and authoritarian. At the same time, populist movements like Italy’s Five Star Movement are not as right-wing and have launched their predominantly online grassroots movement using digital technology in innovative ways. What kinds of epistemological work does the rhetoric of “populism” enact for those who deploy it? What ways of knowing undergird its diffusion? And what of populism’s materiality? What of the infrastructure it requires, the digital networks it creates and relies on, and the material traces it leaves behind? In their recent volume Beyond Populism, Jeff Maskovsky and Sophie Bjork-James suggest that the “angry politics” that are often termed populist are responding to the failures of neoliberal regimes. The panel takes up this insight particularly insofar as movements respond to new technological arrangements and digital modes of production, volatile financial markets, and extreme forms of inequality and alienation. How do leaders and movements who marshal populist rhetoric gain credibility and value by the collapse of protections and safeguards? How do neoliberal assemblages of rapid global circulation produce retrograde fantasies for national boundaries, ethnic and racial homogeneity and the patriarchal family? Our discussion and debate will engage these topics as well as participant's unique ethnographic and historical insights .


Transcript English (automatic)

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