Affekte der Wahrheit. Über autoritäre Sensitivitäten von der Aufklärung bis 4Chan, Trump und der Alt-Right
Rainer Mühlhoff – 2019
Based on a theory of affectivity and subjectivity, this article analyzes different affective sensitivities behind authoritarian styles of politics. Following the late work of Michel Foucault, I formulate a concept of political subjectivity that describes the emergence of (new) forms of political articulation as a result of an interplay of individual affective sensitivities and mediatechnical structures of public communication. To illustrate the theoretical points, the article starts from a brief outline of affective subjectivation in the context of the discourse ethics of (German) Enlightenment. Then I will discuss the emergence of political subjectivities in the context of the election of Donald Trump as the 45th US President in 2016. As I will argue, the current rise of right-wing populism and the Alt-Right movement shows a political impulse aimed at disturbing and destroying the established political apparatus. This can be theorized as a form of authoritarian mobilization based on the activation of a cynical and destructive authoritarian sensitivity. While this sensitivity must be distinguished from a civic and indignant form of authoritarian sensitivity, both forms resonated in a symbiotic affective interplay that emerged out of a complex strategy of media guerilla around the election of Donald Trump.