Presentation Title

An Ethnography of Trumpism in Vermont

Presenter's Name(s)

Adelaide A. SzczesiulFollow

Abstract

The widespread phenomenon of Trumpism has become a divisive force in American political culture. Trumpism is a style of confrontational populist political communication associated with alienated white communities and tied to a loose and flexible political agenda built around nativism, alienation, and traditionalism. Trumpism is a cultural phenomenon grounded in symbolic claims about the nation, but it is understood and filtered at the local level in highly regional and localized ways. Rather than approaching it as a homogeneous political force or singular doctrine, it is important to explore how it gains meaning at the local level in relationship with the cultural and political contexts of a particular community. This thesis will be an ethnography of Trumpism in Vermont, exploring how cultural and political histories of the state, and the distinct needs, beliefs, and experiences of Vermonters, shape its meanings and expressions. It adds a local study to the increasingly-relevant field of political anthropology of alienated groups in the US, and it will examine the underlying complexity of Vermont political culture and “Vermonter” identity formation as it relates to the phenomenon of Trumpism.

Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Luis Vivanco

Status

Undergraduate

Student College

College of Arts and Sciences

Program/Major

Anthropology

Primary Research Category

Social Sciences

Second College (optional)

College of Arts and Sciences

Second Program/Major

Political Science

Secondary Research Category

Social Sciences

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An Ethnography of Trumpism in Vermont

The widespread phenomenon of Trumpism has become a divisive force in American political culture. Trumpism is a style of confrontational populist political communication associated with alienated white communities and tied to a loose and flexible political agenda built around nativism, alienation, and traditionalism. Trumpism is a cultural phenomenon grounded in symbolic claims about the nation, but it is understood and filtered at the local level in highly regional and localized ways. Rather than approaching it as a homogeneous political force or singular doctrine, it is important to explore how it gains meaning at the local level in relationship with the cultural and political contexts of a particular community. This thesis will be an ethnography of Trumpism in Vermont, exploring how cultural and political histories of the state, and the distinct needs, beliefs, and experiences of Vermonters, shape its meanings and expressions. It adds a local study to the increasingly-relevant field of political anthropology of alienated groups in the US, and it will examine the underlying complexity of Vermont political culture and “Vermonter” identity formation as it relates to the phenomenon of Trumpism.