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The More Things Change: A Gramscian Genealogy of Barack Obama's “Post-Racial” Politics, 1932–2008

Rethinking Obama

ISBN: 978-0-85724-911-1, eISBN: 978-0-85724-912-8

Publication date: 30 November 2011


Numerous commentators have suggested that Barack Obama represents a new “post-racial” politics in the United States, distinct from a pre-existing contentious form that originated with the civil rights era. Drawing on secondary historical data, Mr. Obama's presidential campaign speeches, and county-level electoral returns from Indiana and North Carolina, I argue in contrast to such claims that post-racial politics comprise the latest in a line of successive attempts by the Democratic Party to articulate the New Deal voting bloc, in which the white suburban middle class is the primary constituency while African Americans are of secondary importance. By addressing the question of “Obama and the Politics of Race” in this way, this chapter seeks to integrate political parties into the study of racial ideologies. Specifically, it suggests that the latter may originate and subsequently develop in the context of partisan struggle.


de Leon, C. (2011), "The More Things Change: A Gramscian Genealogy of Barack Obama's “Post-Racial” Politics, 1932–2008", Go, J. (Ed.) Rethinking Obama (Political Power and Social Theory, Vol. 22), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 75-104.



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