International Politics

, Volume 48, Issue 2–3, pp 153–163 | Cite as

American power and identities in the age of Obama

  • Inderjeet Parmar


Although the election of Barack Obama to the US presidency represents a landmark event in the history of that country, questions remain over its broader political significance. What is the likelihood of Obama's foreign and national security policies differing fundamentally from those of the Bush administrations? Does Obama's election signal a ‘post-racial’ phase in American national life? What are the factors that suggest opportunities to change and expand American identities as opposed to those that limit Obama's sphere of action? This article introduces the special issue and suggests that although Obama's room for manoeuvre is limited by legacies inherited from the Bush administration, Obama's own appointments to high office as well as other actions, despite the availability of alternative courses, indicate that he is not the transformational president he claimed to be. American identities, therefore, are deeply embedded and remain heavily imbued with racial, religious and imperial features.


Obama National Security Strategy American identities 


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Inderjeet Parmar
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PoliticsSchool of Social Sciences, University of Manchester, Oxford RoadManchesterUK

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