This book examines the highly ambivalent implications and effects of anti-elitism. It draws on this theme as a cross-cutting entry point to provide transdisciplinary analysis of current conjunctures and their contradictions, drawing on examples from popular culture and media, politics, fashion, labour and spatial arrangements.
Using the toolboxes of media and discourse analysis, hegemony theory, ethnography, critical social psychology and cultural studies more broadly, the book surveys and theorizes the forms, the implications and the ambiguities and limits of anti-elitist formations in different parts of the world. Anti-elitist sentiments colour the contemporary political conjuncture as much as they shape pop cultural and media trends. Populists, right-wing authoritarian ones and others, direct their anger at cultural, political and, sometimes, economic elites while supporting other elites and creating new ones. At the same time, "elitist" knowledge and expertise, decision-making power and taste regimes are being questioned in societal transformations that are discussed much more positively under headlines such as participation or democratization.
The book brings together a group of international, interdisciplinary case studies in order to better understand the ways in which the battle cry "against the elites" shapes current conjunctures and possible future politics, focusing on themes such as nationalist political discourse in India, Austria, the UK and Hungary, labour struggles and anti-oligarchy rhetoric in Russia, tax-avoiding elites and fiscal imaginaries, working-class agency, Melania Trump as a celebrity narrative in Slovenia, aesthetic codes of the Alt-Right, football hooliganism in Germany, "hipster hate" in German political discourse or the politics of expertise and anti-elite iconography in high fashion internationally. The book is intended for undergraduates, postgraduates and postdoctoral researchers.
The Open Access version of this book, available at www.taylorfrancis.com, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license
Chapter 1. The cultural politics of anti-elitism between populism, pop culture and everyday life: an introduction
Moritz Ege and Johannes Springer
Part I. An anti-elite moment
Chapter 2. Anti-elitism, populism and the question of the conjuncture
Chapter 3. The betrayal of the elites: populism and anti-elitism
Chapter 4. The transclasse and the common people: autosociobiographies and the anti-elitist imaginary
Part II. Politics, economy, inequality
Chapter 5. What are we going to do about the rich? Anti-elitism, neo-liberal common sense and the politics of taxation
Chapter 6. Criticism of elites and subjective social agency: a look at the workers
Chapter 7. "Social rage" against the oligarchs: justice, Jews and dreams of unity in current Russia
Part III. Spatial and temporal differentiations
Chapter 8. Countryside versus city? Anti-urban populism, Heimat discourse and rurban assemblages in Austria
Chapter 9. Invoking urgency: emotional politics and two kinds of anti-elitism
Chapter 10. The elite as the political adversary: neo-liberalism and the cultural politics of Hindutva
Part IV. Anti-elitism and the (new) right
Chapter 11. The heroic deed, the wrong word and the utopia of clarity: the discourse of Germany’s New Right on elites and its links to popular culture.
Chapter 12. "Unpolitical in this time/truly one can no longer be so": The raw anti-elitism of hooligans in Germany
Chapter 13. Nazi-Barbies: performing ultra-femininity against the “Feminist Elite” in the Alt-Right movement
Part V. Pop culture and its politics
Chapter 14. Celebrity and the displacement of class: the folkloristic ordinariness of Melania Trump
Chapter 15. Who says who’s cool, and how much is it worth? The convergence of elite luxury fashion with streetwear styles
Chapter 16. Against hipsters, left and right: a figure of cultural elitism and social anxiety
Moritz Ege and Johannes Springer
Chapter 17. The ghost of Europe is shifting shape: how the film Folkbildningsterror intervenes in left debates around class vs. identity politics
Atlanta Ina Beyer