'American Empire' and 'US Imperialism' after the war in Iraq?: The American state in the contemporary global order

O'Meara, Dan
April 2006
Labour, Capital & Society;Apr2006, Vol. 39 Issue 1, p4
Academic Journal
This article takes issue with several widely varying accounts of ‘American empire’ and ‘US imperialism‘ to argue that both are concepts rather than ontological realities. Anchored in concrete but Baygone historical conjunctures, forms of rule and resistance, cultural practices, and economic and state policies, such concepts reflect particular epistmological strategies whose contemporary validity can most charitably be described as quesionable. Thus, whether conceived as ‘informal’ or as decentred or ‘without an address’ notions of American ‘empire’ and US imperialism are, at best, little more than weak historical analogies which obfuscate more than they reveal, and are thus confusing and misleading categories through which to analyse the emerging global order, let alone act within it. Through highlighting various ontological issues in this literature, the article presents an alternative account of the specificity of the current American state and its role in global politics.


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