In contemporary Britain, a lot has been said about what it is that "real people" want politically. Forgotten by elites and sick of globalisation, so the story goes, they demand patriotism, respect for the military, assurances on defence, and controls on immigration. In trying to meet these supposed wishes, politicians attempt to appear normal, salt-of-the-earth, authentic.
Authentocrats examines the function of this "authenticity" in a centrist politics which, paradoxically, often defines itself as cosmopolitan, technocratic and opposed to populism. Casting a doubtful eye over - amongst other things - latter-day James Bond films, contemporary nature writing and stand-up comedy, Authentocrats suggests that the sooner we can break with the sententiousness of a skewed conception of authenticity in aesthetics and politics the better.
Joe Kennedy is from the north-east of England and teaches English and Cultural Studies on the University of Gothenburg's programme at the University of Sussex. His academic work focuses on the postwar continuations and mutations of modernism in Britain, and on critical theory. He writes on literature, music, visual art, sport and politics for a wide range of publications.