Abstructing AOC: Reifying the reactionary rhetoric of patriarchal ideology

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Few US representatives have captivated the public forum like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, known popularly as AOC. While not to discount authentic support for Ocasio-Cortez, conservative pundits and politicians account for most of the mentions of “AOC” in news discourse. These utterances often operate more as rhetorical manifestations of ideology than as referents to Ocasio-Cortez. Through abstruction analysis, we demonstrate how agents and institutions of patriarchy detach the term “AOC” from Ocasio-Cortez and repurpose it as a site of political contestation. As theorized, abstructions result from the aggregate reactions to individual political agents who interrogate anti-democratic power. Read as threats to hegemony, these agents and their identifiers undergo the ideological processes of abstruction, which consists of three phases. First, political agents, like AOC, endure the erasure of agency through processes of abstraction. The referents (AOC), now vacated of their direct connections to their antecedent persons (Ocasio-Cortez), are then refitted as venues of largely inconsequential political ructions that avoid the substance of the agent’s protest. Consequently, these two processes obstruct substantive democratic discourse regarding the dissident’s concerns. Applied here, our abstruction analysis demonstrates how the term AOC is reappropriated as a site of pseudo-democratic contestations that obstruct the dissolution of the patriarchy.

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Communication and Democracy

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