The 2016 Brexit referendum and Trump election

by Jeanette Edwards, Angelique Haugerud, and Shanti Parikh

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Global narratives about the 2016 US presidential election and the UK referendum highlight rupture—liberal democracy in crisis. Yet some observers interpret this moment to be business as usual writ large—a display of racial, class, and gender injustices that have long betrayed democratic ideals. Contributors to this special AE Forum explore both perspectives as they probe the disorientation many feel and address issues such as the politics of lying, voters’ personal perspectives, varieties of populism, limitations of common media frames, demographic reductionism, reconfigurations of class politics, and the temporalities of cosmopolitanism. This political moment challenges anthropologists to unsettle our discipline, especially by paying close attention to contradictions within liberal representative democracy and by listening to those who imagine alternative political and economic futures.