Neoliberalism, the Alt-Right and the Intellectual Dark Web

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Drawing on research from digital media studies, political theory and rhetoric this article explores online radical conservative and reactionary ‘ideological entrepreneurs’. It argues that online media are uniting an ‘ideological family’ around concepts of natural inequality and hostility to those who deny them. Placing this phenomenon in context the article shows how online culture reinvigorates well-established discourses of opposition to bureaucrats, intellectuals and experts of all kinds, rejecting one version of the neoliberal state and of its personnel, a ‘new class’ understood to dominate through discursive, cultural, power and imagined through the figures of the ‘Social Justice Warrior’ and the ‘Cultural Marxist’. In competing for a share of the marketplace of ideas these ideological entrepreneurs promise insights – the revelations of the ‘red pill’ - critiquing ‘actually-existing’ neoliberalism yet insisting on the ‘rationality’ of governance through markets and promising adherents techniques for achieving success as liberated entrepreneurial selves.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-190
Number of pages24
JournalTheory, Culture and Society
Issue number6
Early online date6 Sep 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021

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