Right-wing populism and authoritarianism are on the rise globally after the financial crisis of 2008. This reactionary trend has widely channeled anxieties created by neoliberal insecurities into cultural and nationalistic backlash against the ostensible enemies of “Western” values (e.g., immigrants, racial and sexual minorities, feminists, and leftists). President Jair Bolsonaro’s “Brazil above everything, God above everyone” and President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” are the most conspicuous examples of the resurgence of a populist reactionary right in the Americas. This continental trend promotes ultra-nationalism and more coercive neoliberalization processes combined with a reactionary authoritarianism that celebrates essentialized “Western” values, such as capitalist social relations, the heteronormative family, and Judeo-Christian morality. In this paper, I analyze the meanings of the West in the context of authoritarian neoliberalization processes. I also discuss and illustrate the role of civilizational discourses focused on “Western” values that have contributed to unify discursively and ideologically the transnational Right in the Americas. By focusing on right-wing actors in Brazil and the US, I analyze how the construction and dissemination of civilizational discourses around the celebration and defense of “Western” values is shaped and imbricated by the defense of neoliberal/authoritarian values and agendas.
"Defending “Western” Values: Reactionary Neoliberalism in the Americas."
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