Capitalism’s idea of education has always been a dystopian one. The last twenty years, we have moved even further into a market-driven, theocratic, ethnocentric, militarized, authoritarian, punitive model that holds firm capitalist and neoconservative values, where middle and, particularly, working class students and students of color are taught obedience, compliance, and conformity and remain relegated in the margins. This chapter traces the historical roots and theoretical foundations of Critical Pedagogy in the United States against a necessary socio-historical context, and identifies authoritarianism in education. From the organization and standardization of curricula and the control of forms and content of knowledge to the physical control and discipline, the ritualistic organization of school routines and the regulation of student bodies, authoritarianism registers overtly and covertly as a main driving force. In this context some new research paths are proposed that challenge neoliberalism and the new disruptive models of the pandemic, surveillance and militarization, and reiterate the political nature of education, looking at social media as a site of public pedagogy. With the rise of the far right, the chapter addresses the role of schools, the connections between school curricula and the increasing popularity of fake news and of right-wing conspiracy theories, the different sites of public pedagogy and the knowledge these produce.
Far-right populist authoritarianism builds on the rhetoric of historical revisionism. Revisionist history can be illustrated in the Republicans’ backlash against using Critical Race Theory in school curricula, promoting at the same time Patriotic Education, a whitewashed nativist version that bears little relevance to the present, while selectively erasing the past. This chapter explores the features of historical narratives and their role in supporting and strengthening the authoritarian far-right Trumpist rhetoric, as well as the new strong discourses emerging out of Trumpism. The control over the collective historical narrative is central in far-right politics, and Trumpism has successfully integrated a dangerous historical revisionism into its muddy ideological mix. The whitewashing and distortion of history has traditionally been at the core of all ideological struggles. Features of far-right authoritarian narratives are presented in an attempt to frame history as a critical pedagogical project and pedagogy as a historical project. All book themes are weaved under the light of history and the process of historicization, situating social phenomena and events in their historical dimension
A sociohistorical, theoretical and conceptual framework is presented as the grounds for understanding the rise of authoritarian far-right populist politics, ideologies, and discourses across the world. Triggered by the January 6th Capitol insurrection, this chapter explores the question of whether Trump’s four-year presidential term can be seen as the emergence of ‘new fascism’ in the United States, through the review of literature on the topic. Trumpism is examined as a far-right, authoritarian, populist movement, in line with other similar movements in Europe. Its characteristics, and main mechanisms of reproduction, and dissemination, ideologies and discourses are presented. The theoretical and historical knowledge about fascism serves as a foundation and a lens for the analyses and discussion throughout the book, especially in the ways it shapes authoritarian far-right discourse through social media.
Throughout his presidential campaign and four years in office, Trump’s rhetoric helped fuse the various factions of the far right as the latter gained in power and visibility thanks to the political cover provided by the White House. Starting with the question posed in Chapter 1 regarding the rise of far-right extremism and neo-fascism and drawing on Critical Discourse Studies and the one-dimensional authoritarian discourse framework presented in Chapter 2, this chapter explores how conservative social media have been used as a platform for far-right discourses, the features of these discourses and the kinds of social practices that are shaped and mobilized by them. The analysis builds on four different discursive moments: Trump’s speech at the Ellipse, Parler and Telegram digital chatter and select Twitter posts in the time period between December 31st, 2020 and January 12th, 2021; neo-Nazi Iron March Platform posts; and the actual events at the Capitol. The exploration and critical analysis of the discursive manifestations of far-right authoritarian populism and Nazism on social media reveals how in their obscurity and anonymity, deeply dehumanizing ideologies are becoming normalized. The vehicle is usually a language of aggressiveness that annihilates and dehumanizes the other. Using Critical Discourse Analysis, argumentation strategies, topoi and discursive themes in the social media under review are presented.
At a time of post-truth, fake news, alternative facts, conspiracy theories, online trolls, and the infamous ‘Twitter presidency,’ it is challenging to redefine ‘media’ and to identify exactly who produces content, on behalf of whom and for whom. Drawing on the work of the Frankfurt School, and particularly on Marcuse’s 1964 seminal book One-Dimensional Man this chapter builds a theoretical framework to understand authoritarian populist discourses and their contemporary iteration in social media. Six features of one-dimensional authoritarian discourse are identified: dehistoricization, instrumentalism/operationalism, digital aggressiveness, discourse as commodity, self as a brand, and the discourse of amusement. This framework aspires to address current theoretical and conceptual needs for those scholars who work on authoritarian far-right populist discourses in social media, especially given the well-established connection in the Critical Discourse Studies literature between the rise of right-wing populist parties, authoritarianism, Alt-right groups and mediatization.