The Sublime Authority of Ignorance, Neoliberal Nationalism and the Rise of the Demagogue


  • Nicola Clewer

Palabras clave:

the sublime, neoliberalism, neoliberal nationalism, the neoliberal demagogue, the far-right.


This article explores the relationship between ignorance, authority and nationalism in neoliberal thought and practice to argue that, far from signalling its end, the recent global rise of the right-wing demagogue is firmly rooted in neoliberalism. Part one mobilises the aesthetic concept of the sublime to explore the central place of, and relationship between, ignorance and authority. Part two argues that neoliberalism has its own form of nationalism which is underpinned by a social Darwinist logic. It is here that we find the basis for the intersection between neoliberalism and the forms of vitriolic and xenophobic nationalism which have helped propel the global ascendency of the neoliberal demagogue. The concluding section argues that, in the context of growing inequality and insecurity, the demagogue mystifies social relations, projecting blame for the failings of the system on those constructed as "enemies of the people" in the interests of maintaining the status quo.


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Biografía del autor/a

Nicola Clewer

University of Brighton (Reino Unido)




Cómo citar

Clewer, N. (2019). The Sublime Authority of Ignorance, Neoliberal Nationalism and the Rise of the Demagogue. Araucaria, 21(42). Recuperado a partir de



Monográfico II