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The Performance of PoliticsObama's Victory and the Democratic Struggle for Power$
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Jeffrey C. Alexander

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199744466

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199744466.001.0001

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Walking the Boundaries

Walking the Boundaries

(p.111) Chapter Six Walking the Boundaries
The Performance of Politics


Oxford University Press

This chapter explores a strategy that seemed to offer Republicans an alternative pathway to victory. Rather than working the binaries, John McCain could walk the boundaries. If he had difficulty navigating ideals inside the civil sphere, perhaps he could focus on themes outside it, evoking noncivil ideals to make a difference, to sacralize himself, and to label Barack Obama in a negative way. The Republican candidate has long focused on the foreign policy environment of civil society, suggesting that Obama should not be elected because he cannot lead the state's military struggle against dangerous anti-American forces outside. The civil sphere is bounded not only by the state, however. It is also surrounded by spheres that focus on religion, family, ethnicity, race, economics, and gender. Walking these boundaries is a delicate task, but it must and will be tried.

Keywords:   Republicans, John McCain, boundaries, civil sphere, Barack Obama, foreign policy, civil society, state, religion, family

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