Sedimented Practices and American Identity in Donald J. Trump’s Election Campaign

  • Dirk NabersEmail author
  • Frank A. Stengel
Part of the Global Political Sociology book series (GLPOSO)


This chapter makes the case for increased attention to the discourse theoretical notion of sedimented practices in populism research and International Relations (IR). Sedimented practices circumscribe the domain of credibility and intelligibility of a society’s socio-economic setting. In contrast to previous studies in both populism research and IR that stress populists’ radical break with traditional policy, a focus on sedimented practices shifts our attention to the need for any successful project to resonate with established discursive patterns to gain credibility. We illustrate the theoretical argument drawing on an example that, at least at first glance, seems to be a prime example for populists’ proneness to break with tradition—Donald J Trump’s campaign statements on foreign policy. We argue that the notion of sedimented practices helps tease out how even Trump’s foreign policy vision draws on deeply established traditions of US foreign policy for legitimacy.


American foreign policy US foreign policy Trump, Donald J. Discourse theory Sedimented practices Change Exceptionalism Legitimacy Gender Masculinity 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Kiel UniversityKielGermany

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