Nothing is as it seems: ‘discourse capture’ and backlash politics
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.
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