Soldiers of Misfortune: The New Right's Culture War and the Politics of Political Correctness

Soldiers of Misfortune: The New Right's Culture War and the Politics of Political Correctness

Soldiers of Misfortune: The New Right's Culture War and the Politics of Political Correctness

Soldiers of Misfortune: The New Right's Culture War and the Politics of Political Correctness

Synopsis

"In Soldiers of Misfortune, Valerie Scatamburlo provides the first systematic account of the political correctness phenomenon. The author contends that the New Right's campaign against P. C. must be understood contextually, as part of the conservative movement's broader "war of position." She traces the historical genealogy of the contemporary New Right; the network of corporate-sponsored funding undergirding their anti-P. C. assault; and examines the mainstream media's complicity in propagating anti-P. C. rhetoric. Scatamburlo, however, challenges the notion that the P. C. ethos is merely a myth concocted by the New Right and addresses some of the disturbing tendencies in contemporary Left theory and politics. She locates the P. C. phenomenon theoretically and politically between the linguistic turn in social theory and the rise of identity politics. Claiming that P. C. is, in many ways, a form of pseudoradicalism, the author argues that progressive intellectuals must move beyond the edicts of P. C., the narrowness of identity politics, and the excesses of postmodernism." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

Douglas Kellner

Valerie Scatamburlo Soldiers of Misfortune: the New Right's Culture War and the Politics of Political Correctness provides the first systematic account of the linkage between the right-wing attack on political correctness and its assault on education as part of a conservative offensive in the culture wars that have been raging since the 1960s. During the 1960s, a wide array of progressives challenged every aspect of North American societies from education to military policy. As a response to these struggles, conservative forces launched a counterattack against what they perceived to be the "excesses" of that decade. Through the amalgamation of various right-wing groups and the benevolence of big business, the New Right was born. With vast financial resources at its disposal, it was able to engage in a series of culture wars over everything from the family and abortion to the educational curricula and policy.

Scatamburlo traces the trajectory of the New Right from its earliest roots in the 1950s and 1960s to the early 1990s and analyzes the events, circumstances and social conditions which spawned its formation. She provides a detailed account of the corporate sponsorship undergirding the culture wars and the right-wing attack on the so-called "politically correct" zealots who are allegedly attempting to impose the edicts of political correctness on unassuming students and curtailing freedom of speech and inquiry in their efforts to legislate "correct" thought and language.

According to Scatamburlo, the war on "political correctness" must be understood contextually as part of the much broader, systematic attempt to roll back the progressive changes wrought by the struggles of the 1960s and 1970s. Her analysis suggests that the rightist assault on P.C. is partly ironic and partly hypocritical since it has traditionally been the Right that has at-

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