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The Inclusive Vision

Essays in Honor of Larry Gross


Edited By Paul Messaris and David W. Park

Larry Gross is one of the most influential figures in the history of media studies. In this collection of original essays, his former students reflect on his groundbreaking contributions to three major developments: the emergence of visual studies as a distinct field of media theory and research; the analysis of media fiction as a symbol of power structures and a perpetuator of social inequalities; and the growing scholarly attention to the relationships between mass media and sexual minorities.

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9. The Emotional Politics of Populism, in Honor of Larry Gross (Eva Illouz)


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9. The Emotional Politics of Populism, in Honor of Larry Gross


One of the most enduring and pervasive clichés of political philosophy and journalistic discourse, is that enlightened politics and emotions are antithetical. One example among endless possibilities is provided by a recent New York Times comment about Trump: “Because of his victories in the Republican primary and then the general election, his campaign was hailed for its tactical genius. But it was driven by, and tailored to, his emotional cravings. All that time on Twitter wasn’t principally about a direct connection to voters. It was a way to stare at an odometer of approval and monitor, in real time, how broadly his sentiments were being liked and shared” (Bruni, 2017). Here “emotions” are all the more vile that they are ‘cravings,’ as if the Churchills or Roosevelts of this world did not have emotional cravings or as if the search for justice itself were not an emotional craving. In common political parlance, “emotions” is a code word which stands for a rhetoric devoid of content which unites voters and their leaders through what is “base” and “primitive” in them.

There are compelling reasons for the normative argument against mixing emotions in politics. Political life is a public entity, emotions are private. Politics is about the collective good and rational consensus building; emotions are irrational, even self-destructive. Politics is the art of crafting...

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