Hegemony now! : an examination of the Tea Party's hegemonic project

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Date

2011-12

Authors

Daniels, Jonathan Ashley

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Abstract

The Tea Party’s influence in the recent 2010 elections suggests that the group is making an impact within American politics. This project seeks to identify the cultural forces at work and ground them within Antonio Gramsci’s framework of hegemony. Taking a cue from Michael Bérubé’s recent book The Left at War, I perform a close analysis of the Tea Party’s project for hegemony. I focus on the media discourses of the Tea Party movement, performing a close reading of two key Tea Party websites and unpacking two important televised moments relating to the Tea Party’s rise as a grassroots movement. I argue that the Tea Party uses the practice of articulation to persuade the American public that Tea Party members are the rightful heirs to the project of “America” that the Founding Fathers began centuries ago by using the theories of Bérubé, Stuart Hall, Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe as reference points. Finally, I use my analysis of the Tea Party’s articulatory practices to begin exploring a way forward for the American Left, building on the groundbreaking cultural work of Bérubé, Hall, and Laclau and Mouffe.

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