We Are the Ones They’ve Been Waiting For: Exploring the Rise of the Tea Party Movement and the Securitization of ‘American Exceptionalism’ During Barack Obama’s First Presidential Term
MetadataShow full item record
Drawing on the theoretical framework of Societal Security as understood by the Copenhagen School of Security Studies, this thesis examines the securitization by the American Right of American Exceptionalism during the first term of the Obama administration. The framework of Societal Security allows scholars to explore threats to identity, and the framework’s explanatory tool of securitization theory provides a ‘grammar of security,’ as a means to understand the consequences of the extreme politicization of threats to identity. This thesis demonstrates that the Tea Party Movement was able to successfully position Barack Obama himself and policy makers in his administration more broadly as a threat to national identity. In particular, it emphasizes the American Right’s use of rhetoric espousing the ideational migration of European-style welfare programs as a threat to national identity. In order to explore the significance of this threat, it presents two empirical case studies: the emergence of American exceptionalism as a referent object in Obama’s first term, and second, the Tea Party Movement’s campaign against the ‘Europeanization of America,’ culminating in the 2013 shutdown of the federal government.