Unmaking an Exception: A Critical Genealogy of U.S. Exceptionalism

David Hughes

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US exceptionalism is a hot topic in contemporary political discourse in the United States and in recent years it has attracted increasing attention from International Relations (IR) scholars. Unfortunately, however, analysis of US exceptionalism in IR has been compromised by its failure to historicise the concept and by its reliance on myths cultivated in other disciplines. This article offers a critical genealogy of US exceptionalism in order to expose it for what it is: a discourse that works to legitimate the United States’ exceptions to domestic and international law in the minds of its citizens and foreign observers.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages25
JournalReview of International Studies
Early online date9 Oct 2014
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Oct 2014

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