The power and limits of Russia’s strategic narrative in Ukraine: the role of linkage

Szostek, J. (2017) The power and limits of Russia’s strategic narrative in Ukraine: the role of linkage. Perspectives on Politics, 15(2), pp. 379-395. (doi:10.1017/S153759271700007X)

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Abstract

Governments project strategic narratives about international affairs, hoping thereby to shape the perceptions and behaviour of foreign audiences. If individuals encounter incompatible narratives projected by different states, how can their acceptance of one narrative over another be explained? I suggest that support for the strategic narrative of a foreign government is more likely when there is social and communicative linkage at the individual level, i.e., when an individual maintains personal and cultural connections to the foreign state through regular travel, media consumption, religious attendance, and conversations with friends or relatives. The role of linkage is demonstrated in Ukraine, where a “pro-Russian, anti-Western” narrative projected from Moscow has been competing against a “pro-Western, anti-Russian” narrative projected from Kyiv. Previous accounts of international persuasion have been framed in terms of a state’s resources producing advantageous “soft power.” However, I propose a shift in focus—from the resources states have to what individuals do to maintain social and communicative ties via which ideas cross borders. In a competitive discursive environment such linkage can in fact have mixed consequences for the states involved, as the Ukrainian case illustrates.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Szostek, Dr Joanna
Authors: Szostek, J.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Politics
Journal Name:Perspectives on Politics
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
ISSN:1537-5927
ISSN (Online):1541-0986
Published Online:08 June 2017
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 American Political Science Association
First Published:First published in Perspectives on Politics 15(2):379-395
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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