Document Type

Article

Language

eng

Format of Original

23 p.

Publication Date

11-2002

Publisher

Blackwell Publishing

Source Publication

The Sociological Review

Source ISSN

0038-0261

Original Item ID

doi: 10.1111/j.1467-954X.2002.tb02583.x

Abstract

This paper looks at a recent historical moment in which the American national identity was defined and contested in the public arena. The Persian Gulf crisis of 1990-91 presents a case in point in which official actors attempted to define the American character and in doing so prescribed particular actions necessary to fulfill what it means to be an American. President George Bush’s discourse used the crisis to rejuvenate US prestige and American confidence. He described Americans as unique in esteemed values and America as the only country capable of leading the world. In so doing, he invited American participation in support for US military intervention. On the other side, the peace movement chose to emphasize American weaknesses, domestic problems, and the gullible nature of the American people. In so doing, it attempted to shame Americans into supporting the anti-war movement.

Comments

Accepted version. The Sociological Review, Vol. 50, No. 4 (November 2002): 587-609. DOI. The definitive version is available at www.blackwell-synergy.com.

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