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American Empire and Globalisation: Postcolonial Speculations on Neocolonial Enframing

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In this paper, I examine the ways in which widely reproduced discourses and theories about globalisation elide American dominance. Drawing on arguments about enframing made by Timothy Mitchell in his postcolonial analysis of Egypt's colonisation, I suggest that one significant cause of this elision relates to a commonplace imagined geography of globalisation that enframes economic interdependency as constitutive of a smooth, decentred and somehow levelled global space of flows. I argue that this imagined geography is structured into dominant political-economic forms of practice and governance, and that in this way it both enables and elides American dominance. Notwithstanding this force in the world, and notwithstanding the tendency of many commentators on globalisation to ignore American dominance, recent events have made such elisions more difficult. I therefore suggest that we need to do more to theorise how American dominance is interwoven with economic globalisation.

Keywords: empire; geoeconomics; globalisation; neocolonialism; postcolonial theory

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Washington, Seattle, USA

Publication date: November 1, 2003

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