The Cultural Politics of Anti-Elitism  book cover
1st Edition

The Cultural Politics of Anti-Elitism

  • Available for pre-order on February 23, 2023. Item will ship after March 16, 2023
ISBN 9780367692605
March 16, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
400 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations

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USD $160.00

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Book Description

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. Focusing on themes such as labour struggles and anti-oligarchy rhetoric in Russia, tax-avoiding elites and fiscal imaginaries, working class agency, nationalist political discourse in India, Austria, the UK, and Hungary, 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 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. It is intended for undergraduates, postgraduates and postdoctoral research.

Table of Contents

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

John Clarke

Chapter 3. The betrayal of the elites: populism and anti-elitism

Paolo Gerbaudo

Chapter 4. The transclasse and the common people. Autosociobiographies and the anti-elitist imaginary

Jens Wietschorke

Part II. Politics, economy, inequality

Chapter 5. Elites, anti-elites and the politics of taxation

Rebecca Bramall

Chapter 6. Criticism of elites and subjective social agency – a look at the workers

Stefanie Hürtgen

Chapter 7. ‘Social rage’ against the oligarchs: justice, Jews and dreams of unity in current Russia

Olga Reznikova

Part III. Spatial and temporal differentiations

Chapter 8. Countryside versus city? Anti-urban populism, Heimat discourse and rurban assemblages in Austria

Brigitta Schmidt-Lauber

Chapter 9. Invoking urgency: emotional politics and two kinds of anti-elitism

Alexandra Schwell

Chapter 10. The elite as the political adversary: neo-liberalism and the cultural politics of Hindutva

Sanam Roohi

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.

Sebastian Dümling

Chapter 12. "Unpolitical in this time / truly one can no longer be so." The raw anti-elitism of hooligans in Germany

Richard Gebhardt

Chapter 13. Nazi-Barbies: Performing Ultra-Femininity against the ‘Feminist Elite’ in the Alt-Right movement

Diana Weis

Part V. Pop culture and its politics

Chapter 14. Celebrity and the displacement of class: the folkloristic ordinariness of Melania Trump

Breda Luthar

Chapter 15. Who says who’s cool, and how much is it worth? The convergence of elite luxury fashion with streetwear styles

Sonja Eismann

Chapter 16. Against hipsters, left and right.

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

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Moritz Ege is professor of Cultural Studies/Popular Cultures at the University of Zurich. His publications cover a range of topics in urban ethnography, cultures of social inequality, political dynamics of the popular, and conjunctural analysis.

Johannes Springer teaches cultural studies at the Department of Musicology at the University of Applied Sciences Osnabrück, Germany. His areas of interest and publications include pop music history, music video studies, labour in creative industries, production of culture perspectives, theories of space and place, stars and fandom.