Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Imagining American democracy: The rhetoric of new conservative populism
by Johnson, Paul E., Ph.D., The University of Iowa, 2013, 384; 3608731
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation studies historical and contemporary conservative rhetoric to argue that the political right's variant of American populism defines the rhetorical figure of "the people" as ontologically opposed to the state. This state-phobic rhetoric poses a threat to democratic deliberation, I argue, because it presumptively cancels the very appeals to shared space that tend to make democracy thrive. By turns examining the new right, the 2008 financial crisis, the 2008 presidential campaign, and the rise of the Tea Party, this dissertation suggests American democracy is trapped in a populist feedback loop that creates tragic modes of melancholic democratic politics. This democratic melancholia contributes directly to contemporary political trends of hyper-partisanship.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Hingstman, David B.
Commitee: Andrejevic, Mark, Bennett, Jeff, West, Isaac, Wittenberg, David
School: The University of Iowa
Department: Communication Studies
School Location: United States -- Iowa
Source: DAI-A 75/05(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Communication, Political science
Keywords: American conservatism, Political theory, Populism, Psychoanalysis, Rhetoric, Social movements
Publication Number: 3608731
ISBN: 9781303671289
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