Neos & Isms (American Politics in Comparative Context)

CUNYGCNeos & Isms combines two scholarly fields within American politics – American Political Development (APD) and American Political Thought (APT).

My perspective crosses intradisciplinary divides by relying on PD (political development, or historical institutionalism, as it is known in comparative) as a methodology with two analytical axes of the role of ideas (stemming from a radical feminist interpretation of monism), and the bedrock for my latest book, Out of Many, One: Obama and the Third American Political Tradition.*

Neos & Isms are informed by the vast literature in humanistic social science given its emphasis on difference as the United States built a relatively strong nation-state and became a global hegemon. It pays particular attention to nation-building in juxtaposition with the recurring, crosscutting conflicts of class, disability, race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality.

It includes discussions about formal and informal political institutions and identities applied to Obama and other presidents from the very late 19th through the 20th and 21st centuries, during intercurrence or in, across, and/or over time (clash of political development and political thought) or engaged with the other so-called federal branches. In other words, it concentrates on enduring institutional and ideational juxtapositions and enduring or classic conflicts in the United States in the executive, legislative, and judicial branches as well as in the media (including social media) that effect political identities.

The intercurring conflicts raised in Part II are classic and representational ones in, across, and/or over time (contingency and history) and political time (macro historical events). They are reviewed in broad strokes to cover these enduring juxtapositions in the five federal institutions led by the American president (including the executive branch, or the bureaucracy he governs), as well as the legislative and judicial branches in play, and involving public opinion, given the role of communications in a representational democracy in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

The conflicts are classic and/or representative—involving the administrations of Andrew Johnson, Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, FDR, JFK, LBJ, and Nixon though Reagan, and giving special attention to the differences between George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

The “Neos & Isms” themselves involve thinkers, theories, and schools of thought, as well as full-fledged ideologies, or values and belief structures, and political cultures that alter or affect political and economic action and behavior in every form of consciousness.

Some of the “Neos & Isms” reviewed in APD are: 1) neoconservatism and neoclassical capitalism, 2) neoliberalism (containing critiques of capitalism, liberalism, republicanism, multiculturalism, and cosmopolitanism), 3) neo-tribalism (juxtapositions found in fundamentalism, theories of supremacy, and spatial hegemony, and involving or impacting all vulnerable populations), and finally 4) multilateralism, reflecting earned egalitarianism within conceptions for horizontal domestic and transnational deliberative democracy or work on commons.

Relating APD methodology to “Neos & Isms” is three-dimensional from the perspective of 1) the individual (un-sub-non-full- consciousness, identity, worldview, and traditions, including those of and constructed by vulnerable and autonomous populations), 2) the five federal institutions (national, transnational, even local entities), and 3) time or contingency.  O’Brien taught it last as a graduate seminar open to M.A. & Ph.D. Political Science students and cross-listed with American Studies, and Women’s Studies Certificates at the Graduate Center, the City University of New York.**

 

*Finding a Nexus between APD and American Political Thought,” Clio, 2013

**Neos and Isms – 20403 – P SC 82001 – GC