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Javnost - The Public, Vol. 18 - 2011, No. 4

The Tea Party Movement: The Problem of Populism as a Discursive Political Practice

, pages: 55-72

This critical essay is an attempt to understand populist discourse of the Tea Party movement and the lurking reactionary- nationalism in the background. Taking a discourse theoretic approach proposed by Laclau (2005), the essay attempts to show how the differential issues/discontents in the populist discourse of the Tea Party came to share equivalence through the articulation of equivalential social logic and the shared universal negative feature in the key signifiers and the antagonism to the government and the incumbents. The essay problematises the conceptualisation of populism as a form of political practice that speaks for the people and against the established power structures, and argues that populism must be critically analysed as a discursive political practice independent of ideology or content.

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