A New Master Narrative? Reflections on Contemporary Anti-Americanism

  • Tony Judt
Part of the The CERI Series in International Relations and Political Economy book series (CERI)


“Anti-Americanism” is the master narrative of the age. Until quite recently, political argument—first in the West, latterly everywhere— rested firmly, and, for most people, quite comfortably, upon the twin pillars of “progress” and “reaction.” The idea of progress encapsulated both the moral confidence of the Enlightenment and the various and ultimately conflicting political projects to which it gave rise: liberalism, democracy, socialism, and, in the twentieth century, communism. Each of these heirs to the Enlightenment project had a confident story to tell of its own origins, its desirability, its necessity, and ultimately its grounds for confidence in impending victory. Each, in short, was not merely a narrative of human progress but a master narrative, aspiring to contain within itself and, where necessary, explain away all other accounts of modernity.


United States Foreign Policy International Criminal Master Narrative Enlightenment Project 
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© Tony Judt and Denis Lacorne 2005

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  • Tony Judt

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