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  • Author or Editor: Marc James Léger x
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In 2016 and 2020, the Bernie Sanders campaign gave American leftists a path towards social change through electoral politics. In order to combat neoliberal and reactionary uses of identity, the 2020 Sanders campaign combined a working-class agenda of universalist policies with various forms of social movement activism. In doing so it compromised on universalist principles and socialist radicalism in order to appeal to distinct demographic groups and win the election. Bernie Bros Gone Woke reveals how intersectional politics contributed to the failure of the Sanders campaign – a lesson that the organized left must learn if it is to challenge progressive neoliberalism and move beyond postmodern post-politics.

Abstract

In the late 1970s, Pierre Bourdieu argued that the field of cultural production was distinguished along class lines by three different modes of cultural habitus: bourgeois disinterestness, petty-bourgeois allodoxia and working-class necessity. Since that era, the petty-bourgeois habitus has become the dominant predisposition. Adding Bourdieu’s sociology of culture to Peter Bürger’s historicized theory of the emergence of the avant garde as a critique of the “institution art,” a new “avant garde hypothesis” becomes possible for today’s age of post-Fordist biocapitalism. Based on Jacques Lacan’s Four Discourses, the contemporary situation is shown to privilege specific forms of cultural production, in particular an activist Discourse of the Hysteric and a technocratic Discourse of the University. Psychoanalysis reveals the limits of these tendencies while also underscoring the archaic aspects of an aestheticist Discourse of the Master and the transferential logics of Analyst avant gardes.

In: Journal of Avant-Garde Studies