Donald Trump: A Critical Theory-Perspective on Authoritarian Capitalism

A Research Paper by Christian Fuchs, published by TripleC

Abstract

This paper analyses economic power, state power and ideological power in the age of Donald Trump with the help of critical theory. It applies the critical theory approaches of thinkers such as Franz Neumann, Theodor W. Adorno and Erich Fromm. It analyses changes of US capitalism that have together with political anxiety and demagoguery brought about the rise of Donald Trump. This article draws attention to the importance of state theory for understanding Trump and the changes of politics that his rule may bring about. It is in this context important to see the complexity of the state, including the dynamic relationship between the state and the economy, the state and citizens, intra-state relations, inter-state relations, semiotic representations of and by the state, and ideology. Trumpism and its potential impacts are theorised along these dimensions. The ideology of Trump (Trumpology) has played an important role not just in his business and brand strategies, but also in his political rise. The (pseudo-)critical mainstream media have helped making Trump and Trumpology by providing platforms for populist spectacles that sell as news and attract audiences. By Trump making news in the media, the media make Trump. An empirical analysis of Trump’s rhetoric and the elimination discourses in his NBC show The Apprentice underpins the analysis of Trumpology. The combination of Trump’s actual power and Trump as spectacle, showman and brand makes his government’s concrete policies fairly unpredictable. An important question that arises is what social scientists’ role should be in the conjuncture that the world is experiencing.

Keywords

Donald Trump; critical theory; capitalism; political economy; Franz L. Neumann; Theodor W. Adorno; Erich Fromm; authoritarian statism; state theory; ideology critique; USA; United States politics; 2016 US presidential election
.
Christian Fuchs

About

Christian Fuchs is Professor at, and the Director of, the Communication and Media Research Institute. He is also Director of the Westminster Institute for Advanced Studies.

His fields of expertise are critical digital & social media studies, Internet & society, political economy of media and communication, information society theory, social theory and critical theory.

Details

Date
19th January 2017
Published By
TripleC
Share this article
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail

Leave a Comment

CAMRI | Donald Trump: A Critical Theory-Perspective on Authoritarian Capitalism - CAMRI
class="pirenko_portfolios-template-default single single-pirenko_portfolios postid-1200 samba_theme samba_left_nav samba_left_align samba_responsive wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-5.0 vc_responsive"