Weaponizing white thymos: Flows of rage in the online audiences of the alt-right

Bharath Ganesh*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)
    23 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    The alt-right is a growing radical right-wing network that is particularly effective at mobilizing emotion through digital communications. Introducing ‘white thymos’ as a framework to theorize the role of rage, anger, and indignation in alt-right communications, this study argues that emotive communication connects alt-right users and mobilizes white thymos to the benefit of populist radical right politics. By combining linguistic, computational, and interpretive techniques on data collected from Twitter, this study demonstrates that the alt-right weaponizes white thymos in three ways: visual documentation of white victimization, processes of legitimization of racialized pride, and reinforcement of the rectitude of rage and indignation. The weaponization of white thymos is then shown to be central to the culture of the alt-right and its connectivity with populist radical right politics.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)892-924
    Number of pages33
    JournalCultural Studies
    Volume34
    Issue number6
    Early online date23-Jan-2020
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1-Nov-2020

    Keywords

    • alt-right
    • populist radical right
    • white nationalism
    • social media
    • affect
    • Twitter
    • RIGHT-WING PARTIES
    • RADICAL RIGHT
    • FAR-RIGHT
    • EXTREME-RIGHT
    • TWITTER
    • RACE
    • POPULISM
    • POLITICS
    • RACISM
    • TRUMP
    • Alt-right

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