Alan Finlayson: "The Rhetoric of Reactionary Digital Politics"

  • Date: –17:00
  • Location: Engelska parken 6-0023 (Danius Room)
  • Organiser: Department of Literature
  • Contact person: Mats Rosengren
  • Föreläsning

Higher Seminar in Rhetoric

Invited Lecture by Alan Finlayson, University of East Anglia. Hosted by the Department of Literature and the Engaging Vulnerability research programme.


Online, various forms of ‘reactionary’ politics flourish, united in hostility to liberal and egalitarian politics, prophesying the collapse of civilisation and calling for a return to ‘natural’ hierarchies. At one level these are just current variations on old political themes. However, I argue that the articulation of such ideologies online, the ways in which rhetoric both adapts to and makes use of the affordances of particular platforms, changes the nature of these ideologies in important ways. In this talk I explore this idea and explain three key features of reactionary digital politics: the phenomenon of “ideological entrepreneurs”; the effects of “context collapse” on rhetorical ethos and authority; the intensification of a particular form of charismatic authority which develops a ‘parasocial’ relationship with ‘followers’ by inviting them to do things will make them heroes and saviours of the counter-revolution.

Note: With colleagues from Birkbeck and Manchester Metropolitan, Alan Finlayson has produced the short podcast series Reactionary Digital Politics. To listen visit