1st Edition

The Politics of Antagonism Populist Security Narratives and the Remaking of Political Identity

By Georg Löfflmann Copyright 2024

    This book demonstrates how populist security narratives served as the driving force behind the mobilization of Republican voters and the legitimation of an ‘America First’ policy agenda under the Trump presidency. Going beyond existing research on both populism and security narratives, the author links insights from political psychology on collective narcissism, blame attribution and emotionalization with research in political communication on narrative and framing to explore the political and societal impact of a populist security imaginary. Drawing on a comprehensive range of sources including key interviews, campaign and policy speeches, presidential addresses, and posts on social media, it shows how progressives, political opponents, immigrants, racial justice activists, and key institutions of liberal democracy collectively became an internal Other, delegitimated as ‘enemies of the people’. Developing an innovative conceptual-analytical framework of nationalist populism that expands on established concepts of political identity and ontological security, the book will appeal to students of critical security studies, critical constructivist approaches in International Relations, and US politics.


    Chapter 1: Introduction

    Chapter 2: The Populist Security Imaginary: An Analytical Framework

    Chapter 3: Dividing the Nation: The Interplay of Voter Mobilization and Policy Legitimation in the Populist Security Imaginary   

    Chapter 4: America First and the Populist Impact on US Foreign Policy and National Security

    Chapter 5: Fox and Friends: The Role of Right-Wing Media, Post-Truth Rhetoric, Conspiracy Theories, and Social Media in the Populist Security Imaginary

    Chapter 6: Hubris and Nemesis: The Populist Security Imaginary between Continuation and Contestation

    Chapter 7: Conclusion 



    Dr. Georg Löfflmann is Lecturer in US Foreign Policy at Queen Mary University of London. He is the author of American Grand Strategy Under Obama: Competing Discourses (2017) and co-editor, with Cora Lacatus and Gustav Meibauer, of Political Communication and Performative Leadership: Populism in International Politics (2023). His research has been published in Survival, International Politics, The British Journal of Politics and International Relations, Critical Studies on Security, Geopolitics, Global Studies Quarterly and others.