The ideology of political reactionaries (Sept 2013 - Jul 2016)


Dr Richard Shorten (


Reactionaries are a political breed still little understood. What do they share with the mainstream Right? Have they changed? Why are they still here? This project is trying to develop a more integrated theory of reactionary ideology than is currently on offer – in particular, by using an analytical perspective focussed on rhetoric.

Project aims and objectives

One aim of the project is to read contemporary figures who might count as 'political reactionaries' alongside historical figures. Interesting contemporary figures include Nigel Farage and Sarah Palin. There are some controversial questions on the historical side. For example, is fascism reactionary at all or, instead, revolutionary? A key focus of study is the peculiar genre of the reactionary 'diatribe'.


Some early conclusions of the project are contained in the discussion in Richard Shorten, ‘Reactionary rhetoric reconsidered’, Journal of Political Ideologies, 20/2 (2015):

More information

For further information about this project, please contact:
Dr Richard Shorten (