Reactionary Digital Politics
Trailer

Trailer

October 20, 2021

In the 1990s tech evangelists told us that the internet would bring the world together; that it would help us share knowledge and learn from each other. Spoiler Alert: that didn’t happen. The world of digital politics is filled with hucksters, ideological entrepreneurs performing invective for a few likes and subscriptions. It’s a recruiting ground for far-right extremists, cultists and conspiracy fantasists. And it’s changing how all of us think, feel and do our politics. 

This eight-part podcast series reports on the findings of a three-year academic research project into the political ideologies, rhetorics and aesthetics shaping the age of digital politics. Featuring interviews with leading scholars and researchers in this field – including Whitney Phillips, Matthew Feldman, Becca Lewis and Wu Ming 1 – it asks why right-wing & reactionary groups have been so successful in using digital technologies to push their ideologies, exploring the history and theory to assess the prospects for politics in an age of digital communication.

Episode 1: How Did We Get Here?

Episode 1: How Did We Get Here?

October 20, 2021

Politics used to be easy. There was the left. There was the right. There was a bit in the middle. Politicians wore suits and were awkward on television. Protestors marched in the streets for fewer wars and more rights. And then everyone went online and found that they hated each other. In the last decade reactionary movements, from the alt-right to QAnon, have transformed politics using digital technologies. What happened? How? Why? We’ve asked some experts (because we can’t get enough of them) and we found out a lot. This first episode lays out the jigsaw pieces we’ll be assembling over the course of this series. We think about the social and cultural context against which digital politics have taken shape. We talk about the rise of social media platforms, the growth in what we call ‘ideological entrepreneurs’, the blurring of politics into celebrity culture, the early adoption of the internet by the far-right and the impact of networked hate campaigns like #GamerGate. All of these laid the groundwork for new kinds of political ideology, style and identity.

 

Presented by: Alan Finlayson, Rob Gallagher, Sophie Ludkin & Rob Topinka

With: Clare Birchall, Florian Cramer, Matthew Feldman, Annie Kelly, Hugo Leal, Becca Lewis & Whitney Phillips.

Produced by: Sophie Ludkin

Special thanks to: Cassian Osborne-Carey

Music composed by Harriet Riley and produced by Tom Jacob

Find us:

 

On YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNdYeOghWVoIb4vZF0B9jwQ/featured
On Email: reactionarydigitalpolitics@gmail.com

Episode 2. How Do We Think About Politics?

Episode 2. How Do We Think About Politics?

October 20, 2021

Online, the marketplace of political ideas has become a free-for-all, as professional politicians compete for likes and subscribers with edgelords, influencers, conspiracist crackpots and unabashed extremists. This episode explores how the internet has accelerated the breakdown of familiar political ideologies, bringing fringe views to mass audiences and encouraging users to pick and mix political ideas from their personalised feeds. Along the way we survey some of the key groups and movements that have emerged from the online right in recent years, showing how an unholy alliance of religious paleoconservatives, antifeminist incels and outright neo-Nazis has united in opposition to the politics of equality.

 

Presented by: Alan Finlayson, Rob Gallagher, Sophie Ludkin & Rob Topinka

With: Matthew Feldman, Debbie Ging, Hugo Leal, Becca Lewis & Whitney Phillips

Produced by: Sophie Ludkin

Special thanks to: Cassian Osborne-Carey

Music composed by Harriet Riley and produced by Tom Jacob

 

Find us:

 

On YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNdYeOghWVoIb4vZF0B9jwQ/featured
On Email: reactionarydigitalpolitics@gmail.com

Episode 3. How Do We Argue and Persuade?

Episode 3. How Do We Argue and Persuade?

October 20, 2021

If there’s one thing the internet loves it's an argument (and cats). This episode looks at the tactics political reactionaries have developed to sell their ideas, win converts and DESTROY their opponents online. Weaponising irony and free speech absolutism to represent themselves as transgressive rebels, the right has refined its culture-war playbook with each shitpost and pile-on. We think about how political appeals are dressed in the appealing garb of self-help advice and what’s going on when phrases like ‘social justice warrior’ or ‘cultural Marxism’ rise from the bottom of the internet and float around in the cultural and political mainstream.

 

Presented by: Alan Finlayson, Rob Gallagher, Sophie Ludkin & Rob Topinka

With: Matthew Feldman, Bharath Ganesh, Debbie Ging, Annie Kelly & Whitney Phillips 

Produced by: Sophie Ludkin

Special thanks to: Cassian Osborne-Carey

 

Find us:

 

On YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNdYeOghWVoIb4vZF0B9jwQ/featured
On Email: reactionarydigitalpolitics@gmail.com

Episode 4. How Does It Feel?

Episode 4. How Does It Feel?

October 20, 2021

Politics has always been an emotive subject. ‘Virtual’ media provoke, play with and monetise our very real feelings. Where the two meet is a goldmine of likes, subscriptions and donations. In this episode we think about how reactionary ideological entrepreneurs appeal to anxiety and resentment, fear and pride, and how they promise to reveal secrets and hidden truths that will make us feel better.

 

Presented by: Alan Finlayson, Rob Gallagher, Sophie Ludkin & Rob Topinka

With: Clare Birchall, Florian Cramer, Bharath Ganesh, Annie Kelly,  Hugo Leal, Becca Lewis & Whitney Phillips

Produced by: Sophie Ludkin

Special thanks to: Cassian Osborne-Carey

Music composed by Harriet Riley and produced by Tom Jacob

 

Find us:

 

On YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNdYeOghWVoIb4vZF0B9jwQ/featured
On Email: reactionarydigitalpolitics@gmail.com

Episode 5: Who Are We?

Episode 5: Who Are We?

October 20, 2021

Modernity is hard. Late modernity is harder. Nobody knows who anybody else is, let alone who they are supposed to be. But someone on the internet is there to give you an answer. This episode is about how ideological entrepreneurs and influencers weave politics into their personal brands, promoting a reactionary politics of race, sex and gender by appealing to people seeking a sense of belonging and poking at their wounds. And behind it all, it turns out, we are being filed, stamped, indexed and identified by the numbers. 

 

Presented by: Alan Finlayson, Rob Gallagher, Sophie Ludkin & Rob Topinka

With: Bharath Ganesh, Debbie Ging, Annie Kelly, Hugo Leal, Becca Lewis &  Marc Tuters

Produced by: Sophie Ludkin

Special thanks to: Cassian Osborne-Carey

Music composed by Harriet Riley and produced by Tom Jacob

 

Find us:

On YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNdYeOghWVoIb4vZF0B9jwQ/channels
On Email: reactionarydigitalpolitics@gmail.com

Episode 6. How Does It Look?

Episode 6. How Does It Look?

October 20, 2021

When politics takes place mostly on our screens, how it looks - and how we look, when we look at people looking at us - matters a lot. This episode explores the relationship between politics and aesthetics, from haircuts and Hawaiian shirts to frog memes and ‘fashwave’. We think about how reactionary subcultures have embraced the DIY logic of digital technologies to develop symbols, genres, styles and vocabularies that express their values, distinguishing initiates from outsiders. This dark academic dispatch sheds light on corners you didn’t even know were lurking there.

 

Presented by: Alan Finlayson, Rob Gallagher, Sophie Ludkin & Rob Topinka

With: Clare Birchall, Florian Cramer, Debbie Ging, Annie Kelly, Becca Lewis, Whitney Phillips & Marc Tuters

Produced by: Sophie Ludkin

Special thanks to: Cassian Osborne-Carey

Music composed by Harriet Riley and produced by Tom Jacob

 

Find us:

 

On YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNdYeOghWVoIb4vZF0B9jwQ/featured
On Email: reactionarydigitalpolitics@gmail.com

Episode 7. Who Is To Blame?

Episode 7. Who Is To Blame?

October 20, 2021

In an era of high political melodrama there has to be a ‘big bad’ weaving a tangled web. In this episode we theorise conspiracy theories - from racist myths about ‘globalists’ plotting white genocide to fevered dreams of Hollywood Satanists harvesting ‘adrenochrome’ from stolen children. What makes these absurdities so compelling for so many? What is it about the digital portal that invites us to fall into them? What have they inherited from older conspiracy narratives? And how have movements like QAnon used digital technologies to make believers feel like heroic sleuths fighting the good fight together? In this episode secrets are revealed, an anonymous informant spills the beans and we do our own research.

 

Presented by: Alan Finlayson, Rob Gallagher, Sophie Ludkin & Rob Topinka

With: Clare Birchall, Florian Cramer, Matthew Feldman, Annie Kelly, Hugo Leal & Wu Ming 1

Produced by: Sophie Ludkin

Special thanks to: Cassian Osborne-Carey

Music composed by Harriet Riley and produced by Tom Jacob

 

Find us:

 

On YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNdYeOghWVoIb4vZF0B9jwQ/featured
On Email:  reactionarydigitalpolitics@gmail.com

Episode 8: How Do We Get Out of Here?

Episode 8: How Do We Get Out of Here?

October 20, 2021

These days, it’s impossible to talk publicly about how things are going wrong with politics (economics, culture, society, climate etc.) without someone piping up at the end to spoil a good whinge by asking ‘So, what would you do about it?”. Well, we can be spoilsports too. At the end of all our conversations we asked our interviewees the same question: we now know that digital politics is a mess, but what do we do about it? In this final episode, we listen to and think about their answers - from demands to regulate social media platforms to calls to think better about our communications ecology. Are we just sharp edged critical theorists or will we turn out to have a soft moral centre? Listen to the end to find out.  

 

Presented by: Alan Finlayson, Rob Gallagher, Sophie Ludkin & Rob Topinka

With: Clare Birchall, Florian Cramer, Matthew Feldman, Bharath Ganesh, Debbie Ging, Annie Kelly, Hugo Leal, Becca Lewis, Whitney Phillips & Wu Ming 1

Produced by: Sophie Ludkin

Special thanks to: Cassian Osborne-Carey

Music composed by Harriet Riley and produced by Tom Jacob

 

Find us:

 

On YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNdYeOghWVoIb4vZF0B9jwQ/featured
On Email: reactionarydigitalpolitics@gmail.com

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