Incompleteness: Donald Trump, Populism and Citizenship
417 pages
English

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417 pages
English
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This is a study of how Donald J. Trump, his populist credentials notwithstanding, borrows without acknowledgment and stubbornly refuses to come to terms with his indebtedness. Taken together with mobility and conviviality, the principle of incompleteness enables us to distinguish between inclusionary and exclusionary forms of populism, and when it is fuelled by ambitions of superiority and zero-sum games of conquest.

Nyamnjoh challenges the reader to reflect on how stifling frameworks of citizenship and belonging predicated upon hierarchies of humanity and mobility, and driven by a burning but elusive quest for completeness, can be constructively transcended by humility and conviviality inspired by taking incompleteness seriously. Nyamnjoh argues that the logic and practice of incompleteness is a healthy antidote to name-calling and scapegoating others as undesirable outsiders, depending on the brand of populism at play.

Recognising incompleteness also helps to question sterile and problematic binaries such as those between elites and the impoverished masses among whom populists go to fish for political visibility, prominence and success.


Foreword 1: Populism: Myths, Metaphors and Metamorphosis

Foreword 2: The Road from Lakabum to Bellagio and Beyond

Introduction: The Prism of Incompleteness

Part I: The Global Rise and Effervescence of Populism

Part II: Trump, the USA and the Populism Bandwagon

Part III: The Role of Media and Digital Technologies in the Upsurge of Populism

Concluding Thoughts

Afterword: You Have been Warned - Ideas Have Consequences

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Publié par
Date de parution 01 janvier 2022
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9789956552160
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 8 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,185€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.

Extrait

argues that we cannot hope to fully get to grips with contemporary populism unless we first
and zero-sum games of conquest. Nyamnjoh challenges the reader to reflect on how stifling
impoverished masses among whom populists go to fish for political visibility, prominence and success.
INCOMPLETENESS Donald Trump, Populism and Citizenship
- Francis B. Nyamnjoh -
Incompleteness: Donald Trump, Populism and Citizenship by Francis B. Nyamnjoh
L a ng a a R esea rch & P u blishing CIG Mankon, Bamenda
Publisher:LangaaRPCIG Langaa Research & Publishing Common Initiative Group P.O. Box 902 Mankon Bamenda North West Region Cameroon Langaagrp@gmail.com www.langaa-rpcig.net Distributed in and outside N. America by African Books Collective orders@africanbookscollective.com www.africanbookscollective.com
ISBN-10: 9956-552-87-9
ISBN-13: 978-9956-552-87-0 ©Francis B. Nyamnjoh 2022All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, mechanical or electronic, including photocopying and recording, or be stored in any information storage or retrieval system, without written permission from the publisher
Acknowledgements The acknowledgements page is a necessary reminder that writing is and should be seen as a collaborative endeavour. Not only does one write in conversation with the written words of others, one benefits in the writing process from the goodwill and generosity of others – among whom perfect strangers and fleeting acquaintances – in a myriad of ways. This makes every piece of writing a collective project, even when authorship is assigned to or claimed by one person. This book epitomises writing as a process of debt and indebtedness that I could never acknowledge enough. As I wrote this book, I set off like a day-old bird learning to fly but with little to show for feathers. Through my interactions with others, their ideas, their time, their intellect, their attention and their words, I have accumulated feathers that have charged, propelled and propped me up in this challenging flight of incompleteness, even as I have mostly been immobilised from January 2020 to October 2021, a period that included a nine-month study and research leave for which I am sincerely grateful to the University of Cape Town. As some semblance of normalcy returns, and as we regain hope in our struggle against Covid-19, it would be a mistake, to continue with our bird metaphor, for me to fly off solo into the fantasy world of credentialism, however intoxicated I am with my delusions of autonomy and contrivance of authorship. Thus, it is worth stressing, ad nauseam. This book, incomplete as it is, could not have been possible without the Ubuntu of others. Here, I would like to acknowledge some of them whose names readily come to mind, without in any way suggesting that I have exhausted the list of possible contributors – an impossible task in a world of incompleteness. The idea to study Donald Trump, populism and citizenship came to me in late 2016, following a residency at the Rockefeller Bellagio Center in Italy, from 25 August–22 September, where I worked on “Amos Tutuola and the Elusiveness of Completeness”. Several high profile American scholars and public figures were my cohort of residents with whom I shared memorable and productive conversations on the unfolding presidential campaign that eventually led to Trump’s election. I had predicted that Trump would win, without quite knowing why at the time, and much to the bemusement of some of my fellow residents who knew the American political scene well. We have remained in contact, using a mailing list that we
unanimously agreed to name “Il Convivio”, partly in recognition of Dante, but mostly because the word “conviviality” proliferated itself in our conversations. I want to thank my fellow residents for their encouraging comments and insights on my research around the idea of “incompleteness” and “conviviality”. I thank them especially for the conversations that kindled my interest in Donald Trump, populism and citizenship as intriguing phenomena. In the course of writing a book, one becomes like Chinua Achebe’s dancing masquerade, with a nimble-footedness that leads to many enriching encounters, not all of which I can recall, but all of which I would like to acknowledge. Thank you all for making this book possible, even when you were unaware that you were contributing to an unfolding conversation. Over and above a general vote of thanks, I would like to single out a few names for their contributions. First, to Henrietta: Without the flourishing love, patience, family and intellectual climate you have actively enabled and generously sustained over the years, I would not be able to do what I do. I owe you and our children an infinite debt of gratitude. For reading, commenting and providing suggestions on the entire manuscript or sections thereof, my sincere gratitude goes to the following in no particular order: Piet Konings, Bernard Lategan, Milton Krieger, Jimu Malizani, Anye Nkwenti Nyamnjoh, Leah Junck, Joel Carpenter, Kristin Kobes DuMez, Kathryn Toure, Winston Mano, Hassan M. Yosimbom, Edmond Agyeman, Aalyia Sadruddin, Petr Skalnik, Artwell Nhemachena, Thelma Nyarhi, Ochega Ataguba, Petr Skalnik, Divine Fuh, Lauren Paremoer, Mufor Atanga, Charles Prempeh and Sophie Oldfield. I have been fortunate to know Muhammed Umar over the years and to have benefitted from his energic resourcefulness in ferreting for and sharing relevant online newspaper stories. My gratitude to him is profound. For assisting with relevant research and sourcing newspaper articles and online publications, I am grateful to Miriam Aurora Hammeren Pedersen and Inge-Amè Botes. For his indefatigable and enthusiastic search, downloading and sharing relevant literature on populism, especially on the USA and as pertains to Trump, Tekletsadik Belachew deserves immeasurable thanks. I would also like to acknowledge the research assistance of the algorithms of Google and Amazon for feeding me more of the same once they figured they understood what my searches and clicks were about in the course of researching this book.
Fuhlem Emile Fuh, the 3-year-old who visited (along with his elder sister Sirri Inès Fuh), and played with me during the writing of this book, enhanced, unknowingly, my understanding of Daniel W. Drezner’s book –The Toddler in Chief: What Donald Trump Teaches Us About the Modern Presidency– and related psychoanalytical literature. I thank him sincerely for this. Special thanks go to Nic Cheeseman and Milton Krieger, who generously agreed to write the forewords, and Bernard Lategan, for so kindly writing an afterword. Last but not least, I acknowledge with profound gratitude the editorial contributions of Kathryn Toure, Lucien Mufor Atanga and Rae Dalton.
Table of Contents Foreword 1: Populism: Myths, Metaphors and Metamorphosis.............................................................. ix Nic Cheeseman Foreword 2: The Road from Lakabum to Bellagio and Beyond ....................................................... xv Milton Krieger Introduction: The Prism of Incompleteness ....................... 1 Part I: The Global Rise and Effervescence of Populism................................................... 13 Populism: Everything and Nothing............................................. 13 Populism and Nationalism............................................................ 60 Problematic Distinctions between the Elite and the Popular .............................................................. 75 Liberalism-Bashing National Populism in Perspective ................................................................ 81 Part II: Trump, the USA and the Populism Bandwagon .................................................... 89 Trump and Populist Strongmen Compared...............................131 Trump’s Populist Leadership Style and the Covid-19 Pandemic ......................................................... 154 Trumpism: The Real Deal or a Con? .......................................... 166 Part III: The Role of Media and Digital Technologies in the Upsurge of Populism .......................... 215 The Media and Social Media as Magic Multipliers in Trumpian Populism .............................................. 217 Trump, Social Media and the “Pandemic of Narcissism”............................................................ 246 Desperately Seeking Conviviality in a Digitally Mediated Post-Truth USA ....................................268
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Concluding Thoughts .......................................................... 291 Shopping with an Incompleteness Shopping Basket............................................................................. 292 What Have We Learnt about Trump, Populism, Democracy and Citizenship? ..................................... 300 Afterword: You Have been Warned – Ideas Have Consequences ................................................... 315 Bernard C. Lategan Notes .................................................................................... 321 References ............................................................................ 363 Index..................................................................................... 383
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Foreword 1 Populism: Myths, Metaphors and Metamorphosis Populism is one of the most important political phenomena of our time, but is also one of the least understood. This is partly because it is one of the most ambiguous and nebulous terms in our lexicon. Especially if one moves away from academic texts to media reports and everyday conversations, the concept of populism can appear to be as vague as it is ubiquitous due to the promiscuous way in which it is used. Over the last decade, a remarkably diverse set of figures – known for espousing radically different ideologies – have been labelled as populist. This includes Donald Trump, former President of the United States, one of his main critics, US Senator Bernie Saunders, the current Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and his youthful rival Bobbi Wine, and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and former Labour leader – and hence Johnson rival – Jeremy Corbyn. A similarly elastic deployment of the populist label has also taken place with regards to social movements, newspapers and even movies. In some cases, the term has been used as a signifier of little more specific than that a leader has aspirations to be wildly popular – and which presidential candidate doesn’t? It is almost as if the concept is following the example of some of the leaders who deploy it, seeking to be all things to all people – and in the process, losing much of its analytical value. Yet despite the conceptual stretching that has plagued the term, it remains indispensable. Neither political scientists and anthropologists nor journalists and commentators have been able to come up with anything that has greater resonance or analytical precision thus far. To paraphrase a contributor to a recent conference in South Africa, in this respect populism is not unlike pornography because, in the oft-quoted words of Justice Potter Steward, while we struggle to define it, we are fairly sure that we “know it when we see it”. But what is it that we see? What lies at the heart of the populist project and is so instantly recognisable – at least in theory – to observers of contemporary politics? Is it perhaps the performative nature of populists; the way in which they act out their promise of rapid change through dynamic performances at rallies, such as when
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