Reactionary Technopolitics: A Critical Sociohistorical Review

Sean Doody


This paper outlines a critical social history of reactionary media, political, and information networks—what I refer to generally as technopolitics—in the United States and their significance to the hostility towards truth and fact that is a central feature of our political present. I begin with a critical review of the unique right-wing media and political ecosystem that emerged from the alliance between neoliberalism and social conservatism in the twentieth-century. In the second section, I focus on digitization, Trump, and the alt-right, and discuss the historical tethers connecting the latter to the cyber-libertarians and white supremacists operating on the early internet. Next, I take stock of the history covered in the paper, and argue that we can see three general sociopolitical tendencies emerging from our current juncture: something like a paleoconservative hardening of the Republican Party’s base; the degeneration of the core alt-right into white supremacist terrorism; and the rise of an “intellectualist” reactionary assemblage epitomized by the Intellectual Dark Web (IDW). I provide a brief analysis of the IDW and discuss its chief political and social significance in the post-Trump, post-alt-right social landscape of what Jodi Dean describes as communicative capitalism.


Trump; alt-right; intellectual dark web; technology; digital sociology; critical theory

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