Pathways for Transformative Economics and Politics

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Polymorphous Populism

by Arjun Appadurai

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Polymorphous Populism

As we witness populist insurgencies across the globe, we must ask why has the Left been so inept, and the Right so masterful, at capturing the terrain of emotion – anger, passion, love, desire. We must move away from the ‘hydraulic theory’, in which the rise of the Right is directly connected to the decline of the Left and ask, instead, which particular demagogic claims find emotional resonance among ordinary people in as different contexts as Trump’s America and Modi’s India. What makes them equally propitious terrains for the capture of the anti-democratic psyche?

Restating the Puzzle

Many public intellectuals and liberal social critics have been trying to explain the global rise of right-wing regimes, sometimes called ‘populist’, sometimes called ‘autocratic’, always seen as anti-democratic. These efforts, including my own, can be criticized for subscribing to a kind of hydraulic theory, in which the rise of the Right is directly connected to the decline of the Left, either as effect, or as replacement. My argument in this essay is in part an effort to get out of this variety of social physics, and to offer a less mechanical and more illuminating approach. This effort takes me into the domain of emotion, recently re-labelled as ‘affect’, and quickly upgraded to ‘affect theory’. It also leads me to Herbert Marcuse whose work was a huge presence when I arrived at Brandeis University from India in 1967. Marcuse, who initiated an invaluable synergy between Marxian social critique and Freudian psychoanalysis in order to inquire into the enabling conditions of a non-repressive society,  is now seen as a benign but marginal voice1. As a point of departure for my reflections I will take a sometimes misunderstood trademark of autocratic populism, the socio-psychological phenomenon of demagoguery – the leaders’ penchant for playing to common prejudice and passions over reason in mobilizing popular support.


All demagogues are angry but each is angry in his own way. Like the idea of propaganda, the category of ‘demagogue’ is frequently treated as an explanation, when it is only a label, a first step towards explaining the rise and fall of ideologies. The two labels are connected, since the circulation of propaganda is often associated with the rise of demagogues and propaganda is treated as the other of truth, just as demagogues are treated as a toxic subset of genuine charismatic leaders. But neither term has been thoughtfully analyzed, and both belong to a tradition of labeling which has its roots in the preferential use of the term ‘ideology’ to malign the truth claims of one’s opponents. These are all terms which thrive by being naturalized and treated as commonsensical, thus evading critical examination. 

A demagogue is widely defined as someone who incites anger against elites by inflaming the passions and playing to the emotions of ordinary people. Propaganda is a way to forcefully circulate untruths or partial truths, often by demagogues who have seized power. ‘Ideology’ became the loosely liberal term for the ideas of those who employ demagoguery and propaganda, thus departing from its original 18th century meaning as the world-view of an epoch (Lichtheim, 1965).

We must ask which demagogic claims find emotional resonance among ordinary audiences

Today’s liberal left regards such figures as Trump, Bolsonaro, Orban, Erdogan and Modi as demagogues who have captured power by exciting the emotions of common people and who aim to maintain power through the employment of propaganda. This analysis is not wrong, but it fails to ask which demagogic claims find emotional resonance among ordinary audiences, thereby attaining the status of commonsense. Absent such distinctions, these labels are no more than invective.

I look more closely at two examples, Donald Trump and Narendra Modi – acting in vastly different political contexts, they both strive to retain power or return to office in 2024. They have both won the battle for the emotions in their countries. Modi has achieved demigod status among his followers, is seen as the one-man cause of the national success of his party, the BJP, and is among the most popular leaders on the global stage as well. Trump has a remarkably resilient following among Republican voters, and has something close to parity with the incumbent, Joseph Biden, in many polls, in spite of a mountain of evidence of his lies, corruption and contempt for the Constitution. Modi and Trump are both demagogues whose divisive messages have tapped the terrain of popular affect. But the differences are also massive. Modi is a supremely smooth, charming and skilled user of elections, law and mass media in building his following. He is a masterful manager of the rabble-rousing messages that work on the Indian campaign trail and the soothing doubletalk needed for international dealings and his global PR successes. He is supremely rational. Trump is of course a walking commercial for the Clinical Handbook of Psychological Disorders. These similarities despite differences invite us to look deeper than what mere labelling allows. We need to look at the USA and India as very different but equally propitious terrains for the capture of the anti-democratic psyche.

Dumont’s Comparison

A cogent matrix of comparison between India and the West was introduced by French anthropologist Louis Dumont, who observed that while individualism was the governing ideology of the modern West, hierarchy was the encompassing ideology of India, which prioritized the (hierarchically structured) social whole rather than the individual (Dumont, 1966, 1977). This led Dumont to juxtapose the Western and Indic ideologies of inequality on account of the radical difference between their umbrella ideologies. Notwithstanding the numerous objections that Dumont’s analyses have inspired, his basic insight is useful, since it helps to distinguish hierarchy from stratification, caste from class, and religious from secular justifications for inequality.

The rise of Hindu fundamentalism in India, the rise of Modi’s party, the BJP, and its enduring electoral success since 2014 is a remarkable phenomenon as it comes in the wake of more than six decades of rule by the Indian National Congress with its secularist, socialist and developmentalist approaches to India’s struggles against poverty and inequality. The recent victories of the BJP in the state assembly elections in five states in India have been a shocking blow to the Indian National Congress led by Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, both heirs of the Nehru mantle that merged anti-colonial nationalism with secular humanism and a commitment to social democracy. These victories are widely seen as sure signs of Modi’s enduring popularity and the likelihood of winning a third electoral victory in 2024 and a third term as Prime Minister. What is the basis of the popularity of a political leader who has broken so decidedly with the progressive Nehru/Gandhi heritage?

In India, the emergent individualism is entirely about mobility and not about equality, merit or fairness; it is anti-democratic because it remains hierarchical while seeking upward mobility.

Modi is widely seen as ignorant about economics, has been criticized for allowing massive cronyism, and failing to stem electoral corruption of huge proportions. And yet, his personal and political appeal only grows. Modi’s global status has benefitted from the chaos in Latin America, the dark Western view of China and Russia, the openly anti-democratic basis of most Arab states and the increasingly oppressive regime in Israel. Still, none of these important analyses account for Modi’s masterful capture of the terrain of popular emotions by responding to the psychological needs of the anti-democratic individualism developing within contemporary India. The idea of anti-democratic individualism seems oxymoronic from a modern Western liberal perspective. But in India, the emergent and sometimes aspirational individualism of many citizens is entirely about mobility and not about equality, merit or fairness. It is anti-democratic because it remains hierarchical while seeking upward mobility. 

To get a grip on Modi’s remarkable mastery of the realm of affect in Indian electoral politics, one needs to look at him though the Dumontian lens and see how he has revolutionized this terrain. India is a hyper-holistic (as the opposite of individualistic) society, as can best be seen in the survival and resilience of caste as the hegemonic ideology of this society over almost two millennia. Caste is itself a cellular and invertebrate order which spreads and reproduces itself without any visible central organization, church or leadership. There are leaders of castes but not of caste. No political party can ignore caste in its electoral calculations, but no party controls the workings of caste. What Modi has done is to allow the emergence of a Western-style individualism at all levels of the steeply stratified social order, that is, an actor or agent who makes his own markets, advances his own interests, cultivates his own aspirations and seeks personal recognition and rewards, while ostensibly paying obeisance to group values such as nation, ethnicity, region, caste and family. Whereas in the West individualism nurtured a taste for social equality (a feature which Tocqueville extolled as the basis of democracy in America), Modi has enabled the rise of individualism without the equalization of social status – individualism within traditional hierarchies that is antithetical and even hostile to democracy. Modi’s demagoguery is a dog whistle to his audiences to forget the public wellbeing and to optimize their own personal benefit within the constraints of the corporate entity to which they belong. In India, such an assault on the social and the relational would normally be regarded as a form of cultural treason, because of what Dumont saw as an orientation towards the (hierarchically structured) social whole.

But Modi’s skill is to wrap this treason in the rhetoric of Hindu majoritarianism, and aggressively anti-democratic sentiments, thus reconciling individualism and hierarchy in a manner which contradicts standard liberal social theory. In this case, the god whistle (Hindu nationalism) is not the real dog whistle. The true dog whistle is a call to an exit from the inclusively social to what is better seen as an exclusionary social – it is a call for an exit from democracy. 

All autocracies call for an exit from democracy. But the appeal of this call works differently in its various contexts. Also recall my earlier observation that propaganda and demagoguery do not always work.  In India, Modi’s call has a specific configuration. First, the long hegemony of caste has exerted a conservative, anti-revolutionary force on Indian society for centuries (Moore 1966). Second, the religious world-view underpinning caste has always seen kings as incarnations of divinity, a link that has been made for charismatic leaders like Modi. Third, the Nehruvian heritage of socialism, secularism and central planning has lost its appeal as in many other countries, but in India especially by the failure of the Congress Party (Nehru’s party) to overcome its reputation for corruption, dynastic rule and excessive bureaucratic interference in the economy. Finally, Modi has added the toxic sentiment of the scapegoating impulse, by invoking Muslims as a dangerous anti-national minority, as secret supporters of Pakistan, and as hidden terrorists. 

What now of the very different context for Trump’s success in capturing the affective imaginary of perhaps a third of the US electorate? What Trump captured is the rage of many Americans about the tyranny of neo-liberal individualism. Trump’s dog whistle is a call not just to rage about intellectuals, liberals and ‘globalists’, but also to rage about that variety of liberal individualism which seeks to protect academic freedom, religious diversity and pluralism in politics. Trump has succeeded in painting this latter sort of individualism as a Trojan horse for socialism, whose true object, in the Trump narrative, is to liberate racial minorities, sacrifice American jobs and hold white Americans down.

Trump seduces with a promise to break the chains of liberal individualism as a basis of inclusive and egalitarian society, and replace it with an amorphous, libidinal, anti-social union.

The analysis of Trump’s followers and of their complete indifference to his proven record of greed, misogyny, lies and his larger contempt for every institution of liberal democracy has befuddled most critical analysts. I had earlier thought that Trump’s success was one variation of a worldwide ‘democracy fatigue’, a new level of impatience with the slowness of deliberative democracy, and a new level of receptivity to leaders who promised quick and total fixes (Appadurai 2017). What this global syndrome fueled is a generalized ‘exit’ (in Albert Hirschman’s terminology) from democracy through democratic means, especially through elections. Today, almost eight years after Trump’s initial electoral triumph, we need to add something to the idea of ‘democracy fatigue’, and pay attention to the constitution of a new horizon of the social which is entirely opposed to liberal individualism. This phenomenon has something in common with earlier forms of ‘exit’ from liberal democracy, which characterized the rise of fascism in Europe in the 1920s and 1930s, but it is also a product of several new forces which characterize the first decades of the twenty first century. The most important is the rise of social media which has encouraged the rise of fake news, one-way opinion broadcasting and flash mobs of many kinds. The second is the obscenely growing wealth of the top 1% which promotes a new combination of aspirational envy among the exploited working and lower middle classes. The third is the new mixture of racism, nationalism and anti-elitism which defines the MAGA constituency. What Trump has identified is a means of converting all these factors into a potent strategy to capture the terrain of the emotions.

Even more than the appeal to racism, economic frustration and perceived cultural marginalization, what Trump has crafted is a dog whistle for a revolution of and in the social, which draws aggrieved ‘individuals’ into a form of the social which is virulently antisocialist. The appeal to affect here is the appeal of a promise to break the chains of liberal individualism as a basis of inclusive and egalitarian society and to enable the emergence of a majoritarian liberalism2, which urges a break from the entire edifice of Enlightenment liberalism. This appeal must necessarily be to the limbic zone, the zone in which affect, instinct and feeling emerge and merge, and where logical contradictions (liberalism versus exclusion, universalism versus majoritarianism, democracy versus autocracy) can be blurred and blended. This is the appeal which justifies my call for a revival of attention to Herbert Marcuse.

Marcuse Redux

It is widely known that the members of the Frankfurt School (Horkheimer, Adorno, Marcuse, Fromm) all shared a deep interest in Freud because of their shared interest in why the proletariat in the West was a willing participant in its own oppression. This led each of them to explore ideas about the libido, about the Superego, about human drives and erotic impulses, which they encountered through Freud. Marcuse, who moved from Europe to the USA in 1934, had the longest immersion in the most deeply capitalist social order in history, where much of the socialist heritage of Europe had been abandoned to produce the ‘one dimensional man’ identified by Marcuse in 1964. But it was in an earlier classic by Marcuse, Eros and Civilization (1955), that he showed how Freud’s pessimism about the social potential of the libido in the face of civilizational repression could be turned in a more positive, optimistic direction. The technical details of Marcuse’s views on Eros, liberation, repressive tolerance and polymorphous perversity as a recoverable human drive, cannot be explored here. Relevant here is his insight  that no repressive order, however ‘tolerant’, can entirely sublimate the libidinal economy, which remains active even in the most administered, culturally insidious economy of advanced capitalism. What especially interested Marcuse was what he called ‘surplus repression’ (Marcuse, 1955). Because I see this concept as the most useful pivot to understanding the capture of the terrain of affect by the global Right, I must briefly spell out its place in Marcuse’s larger critical project. 

For Marcuse, there were two types of repression, ‘basic’ and ‘surplus’, both of which contributed to oppression.  Basic repression was the minimal control of the libido required for humans to enjoy the benefits of civilization and cooperation without infringing on the freedom of others. Surplus repression was the sort of additional repression required by an advanced capitalist order which requires the constant expansion of surplus value for the benefit of the order of domination. Thus, the performance principle (required by the economy of artificial scarcities) and the reality principle (Freud’s idea of the minimum repression needed for any viable civilization) come together, so that labor now becomes alienated and the worker works for the growing needs of the apparatus, which are increasingly artificial.  We know that Foucault, Lacan and the ever-polemical Zizek found Marcuse’s views of repression, alienation and liberation far too humanist for their tastes, because it saw civilized human life as an achievable goal. Marcuse’s humanism was not imbued with Foucault’s critique of the category of ‘Man’, Lacan’s famous argument for the superior freedom of machines and Zizek’s subscription to Lacan’s idea of the subject as constituted by lack. And yet it is now evident that human beings, not humanists, have ruined the planet.

Still, Marcuse’s concept of surplus repression can be surprisingly helpful to explain the success of the global Right in colonizing the domain of affect. But to make this connection we need to take a very different approach to liberation, repression and libidinal energy than either Marcuse’s own, or the views of his many critics (Foucault, 1978; Fromm, 1941; Kolakowski, 2005), all of whom argued that capitalism had a serious investment in controlling libidinal energy. But like their descendants today, they had no real insight into the proletarian right wing.

How can we identify some concrete examples of surplus repression in advanced capitalist societies?  Consider the rise of Incel (involuntary celibacy) culture which has been fruitfully analyzed as a form of misogynistic nationalism, closely tied to social isolation, economic exclusion and racial resentment among young males in the USA (Arruzza et al., 2019; Kracher, 2020; Fraser, Braitich and Banet-Weiser, 2019). Here is a clear case of a self-damaging form of anti-libidinal discipline which is a clear symptom of the excesses of capitalist extractivism. Another example of surplus repression can be seen in the ‘hikikomori’ of Japan, who have been classified as a psychiatric category, consisting of youth who have withdrawn from most forms of routine social interaction, including work, study or social networks. Like ‘slackers’ in the USA and in the UK, these youth have reacted to artificial scarcities in the economy by a complete shutdown of all social and libidinal energies. A third example of surplus repression can be found in a whole gamut of health and fitness regimes, from cross-fitness to plastic surgery, which encourage extreme ideas of thinness, beauty and sexual attractiveness. These examples have in common the excess self-disciplining of the body as a displacement of the evaporation of jobs, social security and economic mobility.

The real battleground is not the economy, but affect.

I seek to channel Marcuse to account for the right-wing capture of the terrain of affect. I believe that the real battleground is not the economy, by any definition, but affect, also broadly defined. The forces of left liberalism lost the battle over the economy, because of the world-wide increase in wealth, wages and social extras, because capitalism delivered on its promise for affluence, be it unequally distributed. In truth, the poor got either poorer or less equal, worldwide.  But the geometric increase in wealth and GDP in most countries opened the door to aspirations for upward social mobility, a new aspirational horizon which appeared to require just a bit of patience and some luck, even as inequality sharpens. 

It looks as if the Left is losing the battle in the terrain of affect, as well. But here I focus on the obverse question, which is:  how did the Right capture this terrain? The usual answer is rarely stated explicitly, but it relies on the liberal view of demagoguery and propaganda, in which demagogues appeal to the baser instincts of mankind and are an easy path to the hearts and minds of poorer, less educated, subaltern populations. They are viewed as catering to demotic prejudices, vulgar pleasures and vernacular ressentiment. They are an ideological version of those circuses which seek to distract from the scarcity of bread. In short, in this view, insofar as the life of emotions is reductive, inflammatory and pre-rational, the Right has a natural appeal to the untutored mob. It is evident that this view of demagoguery and propaganda is itself elitist and prejudiced, since it sees the terrain of affect itself through a Cartesian lens, in which the Left is Reason and the Right is Emotion. There is a more thoughtful way to account for the emotional currency which the Right has made its own.

Polymorphous Populism

I use the term ‘polymorphous populism’, to invoke Freud’s idea of polymorphous perversity, creatively transformed by Marcuse, notably in Eros and Civilization. Freud saw children as living in a world where all sites of sensory contact could produce erotic pleasure, and their socialization into adulthood and civilization as whittling down this diffuse eroticism and leaving only the genitals as the focus of permissible erotic sensation. Freud saw this narrowing as both necessary and desirable. Marcuse, as well as some of Freud’s more unruly followers, such as Sandor Ferenczi (1938), refused this reduction. Marcuse, instead, made the restoration of polymorphous perversity the main strategy in the battle against ‘surplus repression’. Marcuse believed that polymorphous perversity would open up the terrain of affect to a wider sensory palette and thus offer a profound erotic complement to the battle against capitalist discipline, alienated labor and administered sexuality. The subsequent debates about Marcuse’s revision of Freud have been intense, but they are less relevant to us than the idea itself.

‘The People’ become an amorphous organism that defies all normative constraints.

What does the idea of polymorphous perversity offer us in our effort to understand the success of the Right? I suggest that the object of polymorphous perversity – a diffuse multi-sensorial erotic economy which resists restriction or localization – has been shifted by the Right from the Body to the People, who are now presented as an amorphous, tactile, erotic organism, which refuses reduction to the electorate, the citizenry, the population or any other demographic criterion. And the People, in this polymorphous construction, do not need the courts, the Constitution, the official media, or even the usual forms of public opinion. Polymorphous populism is the deep connection between leaders as different as Trump and Modi, and it installs the People as a pre-political erotic category, with no prior limits, boundaries or regulations. The Right captured the terrain of affect by replacing the very idea of Democracy with the idea of the People as a pre-political, quasi-biological, entity. And this idea is not just an appeal to masses, mobs and crowds, the usual sociological exemplars of rule by emotion. It is an appeal to a different collective horizon, one constituted by networks of emotions rather than by actors, agents and persons linked into groups. These networked emotions are anchored in a mass sensorium, which then recodes actually existing citizens into followers of leaders who tap this polymorphous populism.

This effect cannot be fully understood without reference to the biggest social fact of our times, the digitalization of everything, and most directly relevant to the terrain of affect, the rise of social media – Facebook, X (Twitter), Instagram, TikTok, and their many regional competitors. How does this array of social media vehicles enhance the network of emotions I have referred to above? The primary way in which the easy availability of social media has assisted the capture of the terrain of affect by the Right is that it enhances the sense of connection and communication without requiring genuine solidarity or shared interests. It is unregulated and allows spontaneous expressions of hate, anger, and contempt for opponents to flow through digital circuits, thus multiplying the ethos of a sensorial network which is more rapid and effective than conventional crowds, assemblies and protests. It is a kind of flash democracy – or direct action – which feeds on the Rightwing impatience with deliberative democracy. The digital world is something Marcuse did not experience. However, I suspect that if he were to have made a critique of digital politics, it would also involve some variant of his idea of the struggle between Eros and Thanatos in mass capitalist society. 

Back to the Local

Earlier in this essay, I contrasted the appeal of Donald Trump and Narendra Modi, in their respective nations, by drawing on Louis Dumont’s ideal-typical contrast of Western ‘individualism’ and Indic ‘holism’ (‘hierarchy’ in Dumont’s terminology). I argued that Trump offered a revolution against the tyranny of the Individual and Modi an inverse revolution against the tyranny of holism, (Dumont’s definition of hierarchy), which does not imply a revolt against caste, but only a new push towards the economic mobility of individuals.

Trump’s followers mistook their experience of sensory populism for an escape from job loss, the opioid epidemic and the social rise of racial minorities — a remarkable hijack of socialist utopia by neo-fascist propaganda.

What is most compelling to me about Marcuse in engaging these different populisms is his endorsement of polymorphous perversity as a marker of the liberation of the exploited members of capitalist society. What Marcuse could not have anticipated is that polymorphous perversity would be captured and redefined by the Right Wing to disguise surplus repression as polymorphous populism. This is the crux of the value of Marcuse for understanding such recent autocrats as Trump and Modi. In the American case, the joyous spirit of the mobs that attacked the U.S. Congress on January 6, 2021, was decisive evidence that Trump’s followers had mistaken their experience of sensory populism for an escape from job loss, the opioid epidemic and the social rise of racial minorities. In India, the pleasures of violence against Muslims, the steady diet of propaganda about defending national integrity against Pakistan and China, and the steady replacement of Muslim mosques by Hindu Temples, offers the pleasures of Hindu populism to conceal or deflect the realities of farmer suicides, rape videos, mega-corruption in elections and the capture of many regional legislatures by known criminals. These different varieties of populism succeed in re-presenting surplus repression as polymorphous perversity. This is a remarkable hijack of socialist utopia by neo-fascist propaganda. 

In light of this discussion of Marcuse, I offer a refinement of the Modi/Trump comparison, by saying that both leaders appeal to the terrain of affect by recoding the social into the polymorphous space of the People, thus freeing ordinary Indians from the tyranny of democracy as representation and ordinary Americans from the tyranny of the Individual. This recoding of the social appeals to the terrain of affect without reducing it to a single object or focus. In both cases, it allows a direct attack on the Courts, the Constitution, the Legislature and on the whole edifice of deliberative democracy as a form of liberation of the pre-political organism of the ‘demos’ from civilizational constraints. I hypothesize that other successful right-wing leaders (Orban, Erdogan, Meloni, Wilders, Milei) have similarly recoded the social in their own cultural milieus, though this wider hypothesis would require careful contextualization.

The main point of this essay is that we need to understand the rise of the Global Right not by reducing its leaders or followers to an irrational common denominator, signaled by the simple and overused term ‘populism’, but by seeing its rise as a dispersed revolutionary effort to recode the social as a polymorphous networked energy. 

The failure of the Left to gain any real foothold in the terrain of affect requires an analysis which would have to begin by noticing that the key words of the Left, so far as the social is concerned, are enmired in older terminologies of class consciousness and interest, and older institutional identities such as worker, proletarian and organizer. But let me hazard a proposal about the particular failure of the Left in the terrain of emotion. It cannot be fully explained much by the massive effort to smash unions, to disrupt working-class organizers and to discredit all forms of socialism, both in Europe and the USA for more than a century. Nor can it be seen entirely as a by-product of the large-scale efforts to promote consumerism, mobility myths and celebrity wealth cultures through much of the world in the last half century. And the uses of nationalism to siphon off class consciousness cannot do the whole explanatory job either.

The dismal truth about the failure of the Left to capture the terrain of emotion – anger, passion, love, desire – among the many losers in today’s capitalist world, is because it is still marked by its devotion to the great virtues of Western scientific reason, which put great store by facts, evidence, logical thinking, sober arguments and plausible predictions. Marx himself embodied these virtues in his writings (though not in his personal style) throughout his life. Even the biggest twentieth century communist leaders – Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Ho Chi Minh, Castro – never let a strong intellectual argument go to waste. This ‘scientific’ element in all the socialist arguments we have ever known always eclipsed the logic of the emotions. And when the great communist leaders did tap into the emotions of their audiences it was usually by appealing to national sentiments (Russian, Chinese, Cuban, Vietnamese and the like), and not to the primordial rage against exploitation, extraction and repression by the wealthy classes. The Left always tried to provide reasoned arguments for the capture of the means of production by the working classes. But they paid too little attention – either theoretical or practical – to the capture of the means of the production of emotions. Here the global Right has left them far behind. There is virtually no movement in the Global Left which draws on affect to make its case for a liberated humanity. The cerebral left is the logical reminder and remainder of this failure.

On January 23, Arjun discussed Modi’s inaugural opening of the Ayodhya Temple and the rise of Hindu majoritarianism in an interview with Selcuk Gultasli at the European Center for Populism Studies. Read the full interview at this link.



1. The marginalisation of the analytical perspective Marcuse forged is in part due to the sweeping Lacanization of Freud by various critical theorists.

2. Azar Dakwar and Albena Azmanova (2019) have called this ‘the inverted postnational constellation’ in which liberalism is endorsed as the privileged territory of select insiders, and turned actively against select outsiders.


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Dr. Arjun Appadurai is a prominent contemporary social-cultural anthropologist, having formerly served as Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at The New School in NYC. He has held various professorial chairs and visiting appointments at some of top institutions in the United States and Europe. In addition, he has served on several scholarly and advisory bodies in the United States, Latin America, Europe and India. Dr. Appadurai is a world renowned expert on the cultural dynamics of globalization, having authored numerous books and scholarly articles. The nature and significance of his contributions throughout his academic career have earned him the reputation as a leading figure in his field.His latest book (co-authored with Neta Alexander) is Failure (Polity, 2019). He is a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

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