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Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies

For a Special Issue on

The New Right and Latin America: Affects, Discourse, Media, Performance

Abstract deadline
15 April 2024

Manuscript deadline
30 September 2024

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Special Issue Editor(s)

The Editors, Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies
[email protected]

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The New Right and Latin America: Affects, Discourse, Media, Performance

The recent shock electoral victories of ultra-rightist provocateurs including Bolsonaro in Brazil (2018) and Milei in Argentina (2023) –as well as the near-wins of Bolsonaro (2022), Kast in Chile (2021), and Hernández in Colombia (2022), the hard-line mass-incarceration policies of Bukele in El Salvador, or the current surge in support for Trump among Latinx voters in the US– have exposed a blind spot on the radar of Latin American cultural studies. Whereas anthropology and the social sciences have engaged for some time with several of the constituencies, communicational forms and technologies credited with playing a fundamental role in the rise of the far right (Evangelicalism, social media, the weaponisation of infotainment and sports), thus far there has been little sustained engagement with the properly “cultural” aspects of the phenomenon. This is all the more surprising given the prominent role of symbols, narrative and aesthetics in neo-rightist public performance and language, from fearmongering against foreigners, immigrants, ethnic or class “others” and the peddling of anti-“elitist” resentment to the public cultivation of aggressive forms of (heteropatriarchal, misogynistic, and homophobic) masculinity and the innovative use of social media (including “low-tech” ones such as WhatsApp) to forge highly consistent, unified speech communities rallying around a “gestuality of hatred” (Kiffer & Giorgi 2019). In fact, prior to the emergence of “cultural studies” in its current iteration, intellectual and academic engagements with mass-cultural practices, informed by Sartrean and Frankfurt school cultural criticism or the Debordian critique of the spectacle, had routinely practised a hermeneutics not so much of “suspicion” as of outright enmity, seeking to understand what made the other side tick (Arturo Jauretche’s idiosyncratic ethnography of Argentine middle-class culture or the critiques of cultural imperialism of the Dorfman-Mattelart kind might count as examples).

How, then, can we know –and confront– today’s new right in Latin America? Can the analytics of twentieth-century fascism (“micro” and “macro”) help us understand what is new and what is old in this conjuncture, or do we need new terminologies and frameworks to understand the geohistorical specificities of the phenomenon, even while also assessing these against the context of global surge of reactionary, nativist, and xenophobic iterations of politics and culture? Is there a specifically Latin American “culture of the right” that conjoins local and global elements? What are the practices of (anti-) production and consumption of “culture” involved in, and fueled by, the new kinds of political identity the new right has brought to the scene? This special issue seeks to begin the urgent task of mapping out a research agenda for cultural studies to (re-) engage with new-rightist/neo-fascist political discourses across the region (the question of naming being very much part of the discussion): what can some of the field’s most innovative areas of critical production, including affect theory, (social) media studies, or performance studies tell us about the new right that political science or sociology cannot?

Comparative as well as single-country case studies are welcome. Topics and approaches may include (but aren’t limited to):

  • the new right and social media: memes, trolling, viralization of hate speech, jokes and their relation to the political unconscious;
  • misogyny, homo-/transphobia, masculinity, and the new right;
  • accessories of neo-rightist performance: flags, jerseys, caps, leather jackets;
  • affective constellations of the new right: rage, resentment, fear;
  • new-rightist discourse and its presence in media and culture (music, TV, TikTok, etc.);
  • representations of the new right in film, theater and literature;
  • cultural forms of resistance against the new right;
  • the new right, extractivism, and climate denialism; new racism and the legacies of slavery
  • memory, human rights, and new right revisionism/negationsim

Submission Instructions

Please submit a working title and abstract (500 words max) no later than April 15, 2024 to: [email protected]. If proposals are accepted , first drafts of complete articles (6000-8000 words) are due by September 30, 2024, via the online submission system, and will be published in vol 34 (2025) of the Journal subject to successful completion of peer review.

Instructions for AuthorsSubmit an Article