Why feelings trump facts: anti-politics, citizenship and emotion

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Matthew FlindersUniversity of Sheffield, UK

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This article seeks to explore and emphasise the role of emotions as a key variable in terms of understanding both the rise of anti-political sentiment and its manifestation in forms of ethno-populism. It argues that the changing emotional landscape has generally been overlooked in analyses that seek to comprehend contemporary social and political change. This argument matters, not only due to the manner in which it challenges dominant interpretations of the populist signal but also because it poses more basic questions about the limits of knowledge and evidential claims in an increasingly polarised, fractious and emotive contemporary context. The core argument concerning the existence of an emotional disconnection and why ‘feelings trump facts’ is therefore as significant for social and political scientists as it is for politicians and policy makers.

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Matthew FlindersUniversity of Sheffield, UK

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