New research explores "the cultural grammar of popular left politics"

New research by Dr Jonathan Dean analyses how recent music by the singer Marina Diamandis, and its reception by fans, engages with popular left wing politics.

New research by Associate Professor of Politics, Dr Jonathan Dean, exploring what he calls “the cultural grammar of popular left politics”, has been published in the European Journal of Cultural Studies. Dr Dean’s article, ‘Purging the neoliberal poison? Marina Diamandis and the cultural grammar of popular left politics’, examines the intersections of left politics and popular culture, by using the pop singer Marina Diamandis (who performs under the mononym Marina) as a central case study.

The paper considers the ways in which left and feminist ideas have seeped into contemporary popular music, and also explores how these developments fit into ongoing scholarly debates about the shape and character of neoliberalism. 

Dr Dean argues that from Marina’s recent work – and its popular and critical reception – we can identify several features of contemporary, popular left-wing politics. These include: 

first, a conception of knowledge as linked to the revelation of truth grounded in identity and experience;

second, a projection of purity and perfectionism of self and, third, a projection of complicity onto others.

Yet, despite the ostensibly anti-neoliberal character of popular left politics, Dr Dean suggests that “explicitly and overtly anti-neoliberal discourses are sometimes afforded a certain cachet and visibility, so long as the cultural grammar they adopt aligns with the competitive and individualistic logics of neoliberal hegemony.”