The Affective Modes of Right-Wing Populism: Trump Pedagogy and Lessons for Democratic Education

Studies in Philosophy and Education 39 (2):151-166 (2020)

Abstract

This paper argues that it is important for educators in democratic education to understand how the rise of right-wing populism in Europe, the United States and around the world can never be viewed apart from the affective investments of populist leaders and their supporters to essentialist ideological visions of nationalism, racism, sexism and xenophobia. Democratic education can provide the space for educators and students to think critically and productively about people’s affects, in order to identify the implications of different affective modes through which right-wing populism is articulated. Furthermore, this paper points out that ‘negative’ critique of the affective ideology of right-wing populism is not sufficient for developing a productive counter politics. An affirmative critique is also needed to set alternative frames and agendas which endorse and disseminate alternative concepts and affective practices such as equality, love and solidarity. These ideas provide critical resources to democratic education for developing a culture and process of democracy that transcends the negativity of mere critique of either right-wing populisms or inadequate forms of democracy.

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