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The Cultivation of ResentmentTreaty Rights and the New Right$
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Jeffrey R. Dudas

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780804758093

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804758093.001.0001

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The Cultivation of Resentment: Rights in the Theater of Culture War

The Cultivation of Resentment: Rights in the Theater of Culture War

(p.137) Chapter 6 The Cultivation of Resentment: Rights in the Theater of Culture War
The Cultivation of Resentment
Stanford University Press

This chapter concludes and expands the theoretical scope of the study. It contends that the special-rights talk employed by anti-treaty-rights activists draws from a more general resentment of the rights claims of socially marginal Americans. Cultivated by New Right intellectuals and politicians, this resentment provides the raw material for the New Right's political vision and is, therefore, an underappreciated element of the American culture wars. The impacts of this conservative-rights talk, which end up being decidedly ambiguous for the material interests of the “forgotten Americans” championed by the New Right, suggest anew the limits of using rights discourse to effect redistributive social change. Indeed, the protean nature of rights talk makes it useful for both proponents and opponents of redistributive causes. Insofar as it can be fashioned to articulate with a reactionary political agenda, rights talk is an important resource for promoting inegalitarian goals.

Keywords:   special rights, anti-treaty-rights activists, socially marginalized, New Right, conservative rights, rights discourse, social change

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