Jeffrey Alexander’s thoughts on post-election reactions

Jeffrey Alexander
“Was the election a ‘shattering’ experience for you? There is hope, says a Yale sociologist.”

Yale News, January 27, 2017

“We know we are part of a world because we connect to symbols,” says Alexander. “The interesting thing about the president of the United States is that he is not just a party leader or chief executive but a collective representation, one that symbolizes the identity United States.”

That puts those who opposed the winning candidate in a painful, sometimes even traumatic position, says Alexander. “For the liberal population in the United States, the two terms of Barack Obama gave them a sense that they were on a progressive path of amelioration. For the liberal part of the United States Trump was very intensively symbolized as the opposite of everything that they have come to respect, and to have him now become the dominant collective representation is overwhelming.”