Re-reading the new right: risk, media, and rhetoric in Republican environmental policy

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Virginia Tech

The rise of the new right in U.S. Politics from 1994-1996 is examined as a process of asymmetrical communication and informational deployments of signs constructed to appeal to a conservative political subculture. Lash and Urry’s analysis of the economy of signs and space is employed to trace the flow of these signs as they are “emptied-out” and recombined in ways that legitimate the conservative, pro-business agenda, or contract with America, unveiled during The 1994 congressional election. A re-reading of these signs seeks to replace the individual as a subject in the role of reflexive agent in a process of modernization which rejects the reassertion of the new right’s design for a social structure of moral values which maintain the distribution of risk. These risks, as managed by environmental policy, are one target of the new right’s deregulatory agenda and as such form, the central political issue examined in this paper using Lash and Urry’s theory of reflexive modernization.

gothic, Newt Gingrich, new right, environmental policy, policy, narratives