An Aperture into US Global Empire: Methodological Pursuits after the Cablegate Release

Author: Gill, Timothy M.
Journal: Journal of Globalization Studies. Volume 8, Number 2 / November 2017

In 2010, Private Chelsea Manning supplied and assisted in the release of over 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables covering years during both the Bush and Obama Administrations in an affair termed Cablegate. This article describes the data that Manning released and its origins. Thereafter, I discuss several ways in which social scientists might utilize U.S. diplomatic cables within research projects examining the conduct of U.S. global empire. While U.S. foreign policymakers are often difficult to access and what they might reveal in interviews might have limitations, U.S. diplomatic cables provide researchers with backstage access to the thinking and perspectives that guide U.S. imperial endeavors abroad on a routine basis. In this article, I discuss how diplomatic cables might bear on several research inquiries rooted in the work of three sociological theorists: Karl Marx, Michel Foucault, and Edward Said. These three theorists' works continue to inspire social scientific analysis, and many of their ideas concerning corporate-political interlocks, surveillance and discipline, and the nature of Orientalist beliefs might be examined within the realm of U.S. foreign policy and global empire-building by harnessing data found within U.S. diplomatic cables.

Keywords: U.S. Empire, globalization, political sociology, imperialism.