‘The Old Prejudices Wax, The Old Interests Play, The Old Neuroses Govern’: Defeat and The Conjuncture

New Formations - ISSN 0950-2378
Volume 2020 Number 102

‘The Old Prejudices Wax, The Old Interests Play, The Old Neuroses Govern’: Defeat and The Conjuncture
Scott McCracken, pages 64-77
DOI: 10.3898/NEWF:102.04.2020

Abstract

Brexit is often represented as a response to deep-seated regional, generational and cultural divides. An alternative is to view the rise of right-wing populism as a visceral reaction to a long experience of defeat. In the Marxist tradition, from The Eighteenth Brumaire to Walter Benjamin’s ‘On the Concept of History’, the event of defeat has often been a prompt to conjunctural thinking. Conjunctural analysis begins with the identification of a break, or what the historian Fernand Braudel calls a ‘structural discontinuity’. Following Stuart Hall’s method of conjunctural analysis, a ‘history of the present’ suggests that recognising this conjuncture as a moment of defeat is a necessary part of reinterpreting the past in order to change the future.

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To cite this article
Scott McCracken (2020) ‘The Old Prejudices Wax, The Old Interests Play, The Old Neuroses Govern’: Defeat and The Conjuncture, New Formations, 2020(102), 64-77. https://doi.org/10.3898/NEWF:102.04.2020

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