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Photo: Proud Boy with Confederates in Pittsboro (2019 Oct)“, by Anthony Crider licensed under CC BY 2.0. Hue modified from the original.

Langman, Lauren. “Identity, Social Character, and the Clash of Social Movements.” Critical Sociology (2022): 08969205221093028.


At this moment in time, the very future of democracy in America has become a serious question. Many journalists and commentators have raised questions of crisis of White, Christian, male authority that impel an ‘illiberal democracy’, one-party rule, and/or a new civil War. The wave of progressive movements in the 1960s, resurgent in the 21st century, and challenging traditional, essentialist, identities and values were experienced by many as threats and dangers, fostering fears, anxieties, and grievances that elicited backlashes engendering various reactionary movements that are now a powerful force. These ‘authoritarian populisms’, racialized nationalisms, gendered ethnoreligious nationalisms, neo-fascisms, and indeed some clearly fascist movements extolling racial, gender, or Christian supremacy are mobilizing to preserve the culture and country of the ‘real people’ who feel victimized, challenged, and face demise. A basic fault of modern political economies has been the fundamental conflict between political democracy, majority rule, and/or rules of law and the economic anarchy, which privileges a few while many face duress; these conditions lead to the irrationality and scapegoating, especially racism, sexism, and ethnocentrism flourish to foster a variety of authoritarian, reactionary mobilizations across the globe.

The Illiberalism Studies Program studies the different faces of illiberal politics and thought in today’s world, taking into account the diversity of their cultural context, their intellectual genealogy, the sociology of their popular support, and their implications on the international scene.