Weaponizing victimhood: Discourses of oppression and the maintenance of supremacy on the right

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

This chapter analyzes a rhetoric of “weaponized victimhood” and its crucial role in uniting disparate factions of the contemporary American Right. Weaponized victimhood speaks to a felt sense of loss of power and esteem among social groups facing challenges to their traditionally privileged status positions. This expression of grievance takes on a hyperbolic form through assertions that groups such as whites, men, and Christians face great social oppression. These groups are portrayed as victims of such projected threats as a “War on Christmas” and “feminazi” activists. Such victimization narratives circulate across various types of conservative news and right-wing media-from Fox News to alt-right and men’s rights websites. A common rhetoric of victimization cultivates a shared affective sensibility among groups ranging from avowed white supremacists to anti-feminists to others reacting against a perceived challenge to their social power and standing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNews on the Right
Subtitle of host publicationStudying Conservative News Cultures
PublisherOxford University Press
Pages64-83
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9780190913540
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Alt-right
  • Christianity
  • Conservatism
  • Conservative news
  • Masculinity
  • Men’s rights movement
  • Political identity
  • Privilege
  • Rhetorical analysis
  • White supremacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

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