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The alt-right: reactionary rehabilitation for white masculinity

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Coverage of the alt-right that emphasises its extremism has the potential to obscure both its links to mainstream conservatism and the appeal of its potentially persuasive new brand of masculinity politics. This article argues that the alt-right's lack of a fixed political agenda or goal is indicative of its structure as a digital coalition of identity politics for straight white American men. This is evidenced by looking at discourses centred on masculinity in the primarily internet-based networks that comprise the alt-right, such as GamerGate, white nationalist and 'Red Pill' communities. The alt-right's positions on race and national security are linked to their more implicit anxieties about the evolving nature of American masculinity, as seen in reactions to the 'Pajama Boy' image. It has created an idealised avatar of white masculinity in opposition to what they perceive as the inherent savagery of Islam and the emasculated figure of the Millennial. Trump's version of right-wing masculinity is much closer to the alt-right than previous Republican presidents or candidates. This article contextualises the alt-right's digital visions of masculinity within the shifting political landscape of modern conservatism.
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Keywords: ALT-RIGHT; EMASCULATION; MASCULINITY; NOSTALGIA; PAJAMA BOY; WHITE IDENTITY POLITICS; WHITENESS

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 15 August 2017

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