This paper analyzes the electoral campaign and election of Donald Trump as an ongoing event – a rupture of known trajectories and narratives. The ‘‘eventness’’ of the election was both orchestrated by the Trump campaign, and desired by parts of the electorate precisely as a rupture in the predictable trajectories of political life. We locate this form of rupture in the tension Weber described between charisma and rational-legal authority, as a tear in the mutual implication of these forms of authority in the ordinary business of politics. We then show how such an analysis of rupture problematizes the usual ways sociologists attempt to understand actors, using Weber’s notion of ‘‘verstehen’’ that focuses on understanding individuals’ alternative motivations, meanings, and alternative trajectories of means and ends. We argue that we must position rupture – the suspension and even rejection of such narratives – as an important aspect of our understanding of action in this case.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science