Toolbox for Electric Fences

Melissa Gregg


Abstract

An affective dimension is often at work in constructions of political ‘reality’. Such a recognition might be seen to reinforce the value of certain legacies in cultural studies, particularly the role of articulation in public debate, and the renewed importance of such work in framing responses to volatile issues like the mandatory detention of asylum seekers. Revisiting the work of Stuart Hall on Thatcherism, and taking note of Judith Brett’s recent history of the Australian Liberal Party, I want to contemplate the prominent role language plays in political life, and, alongside Watson and others, question the priority the Left accords this key element of contemporary politics. In doing so, I use Hall as an example of what might be called scholarly affect: a voice of intervention that catalyses the Left in moments of crisis, and a voice that deploys cultural theory to make sense of concrete political problems.

Keywords

Australian Politics; language; political life

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