Tea Party, political movements, authoritarianism, destructiveness, right-wing populism, class




The contemporary lower middle class, as constituted in the Tea Party movement, holds increasingly unfavorable views of government, especially among exurban whites, based on imagined and preferred versions of reality. This imagined reality valorizes the in-group as the hegemonic standard even as their actual status and class opportunities decline. At its center, the Tea Party movement relies on moralism (conservative values), essentialistic fantasy (racism and religiosity), and Manichaean categorization (good/evil) to explain the reality of job loss, rising prices, and severe real estate decline. Rather than interrogate finance capital and deregulation, the Tea Party movement instead indulges in spectacle as both individual gratification and to herald renewed white privilege. However, the simultaneous rejection of the established institutions of power, simplistic policy formulation, and condemnation of out-groups suggests a racially motivated authoritarianism and destructiveness rather than any particular political commitment.


Original Citation: Lundskow, George. "Authoritarianism and Destructiveness in the Tea Party Movement." Critical Sociology 38, no. 4 (2012): 529-547.

Included in

Sociology Commons