The Rise of Postmodern Conservatism

Kevin Mattson

in American Thought and Culture in the 21st Century

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780748626014
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748670673 | DOI:
The Rise of Postmodern Conservatism

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This chapter concentrates on the parallels between conservatism and postmodernism, arguing that insofar as they are both concerned with challenging the ‘grand narratives’ of postwar politics and culture, they can be seen as strange bedfellows in the 21st-century world of cultural fragmentation and dissonance. The author, Kevin Mattson, observes how the triumph of conservatism was based on populist and anti-intellectual tendencies which are perceived to be deeply rooted in American history and culture, but are particularly related to the culture wars of the 1980s and 1990s. In exploring the rise of postmodern conservatism, the chapter takes in a number of exemplars including the ascendance of cultural commentators such as Ann Coulter and Michael Savage, David Horowitz’s Academic Bill of Rights, Frank Meyer’s championing of intelligent design in American schools, and the right’s war with the liberal media.

Keywords: Postmodernism; Conservatism; Populism; Ann Coulter; David Horowitz; Mass Media

Chapter.  7343 words. 

Subjects: Cultural Studies

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