Reproducing American Identity from Bush to Obama - A Comparative Discourse Analysis of the War on Terror

Pernille Schmidt Hansen

Studenteropgave: Semesterprojekt


Through a discourse analysis of American foreign policy, this rapport examines the development in American identity reproduction from George W. Bush to Barack Obama. Historically, American self-narrative, influenced by Wilsonianism, has reproduced America as a ‘crusader nation’. Along with a poststructuralist perspective, adopted from David Campbell, and employing the case of the war on terror to exemplify the construction of ‘danger’, this rapport seeks to support the thesis that American identity reproduction has changed into a self-narrative of a less crusading nation. In methodological terms, as suggested by Lene Hansen, this rapport entails a comparative discourse analysis of the State of the Union speeches made by the two presidents, where the construction of the Self and the Others and the relation between them, which constitutes the reproduction of identity, are considered along with the securitization theory of the Copenhagen School. Upon this analytical base the different aspects of Wilsonianism, adopted by the respective presidents, are sought pointed out, and the analysis concludes upon American identity reproduction in support to the thesis; The presidents differ in several aspects; Their constructions of Self and Others and the relation between them; On the question of securitization against the articulated radical ‘danger’; And in their adoption of Wilsonian aspects; All of which shows a discursive development towards reproducing, to a lesser degree, American identity as a ‘crusader nation’.

UddannelserGlobal Studies, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Bachelor el. kandidat
Udgivelsesdato23 maj 2012
VejledereLaust Schouenborg


  • state identity, international relations, America, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Securitization, Wilsonianism, Foreign Policy discourse, poststructuralism, exceptionalism