In this article, in response to several calls for new theoretical and analytical tools to help us understand the nature of contemporary anti-feminist and anti-queer politics, I introduce the concept of ‘discourse capture’. I argue that discourse capture is a key backlash mechanism, characterised by its intention, scale, and undercover nature. Discourse capture occurs where progressive discourse is coopted and manipulated to serve right-wing agendas. I outline four forms of discourse capture in practice – resignifying, shifting, mimicking, and twisting. Finally, in the context of existing feminist counter backlash strategies, I explore what a counter discourse capture strategy might comprise.
How to cite this resource
Citation styles vary so we recommend you check what is appropriate for your context. You may choose to cite Oxfam resources as follows:
Author(s)/Editor(s). (Year of publication). Title and sub-title. Place of publication: name of publisher. DOI (where available). URL
Our FAQs page has some examples of this approach.