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Great Power Politics and Strategic Narratives

posted on 2023-06-07, 17:26 authored by Andreas AntoniadesAndreas Antoniades, Alister Miskimmon, Ben O'Loughlin
Great powers use strategic narratives to establish and maintain influence in the international system and to shape the system itself. This is particularly the case in periods of transition in the international system when challengers to hegemonic powers emerge. Strategic narratives are an important tool which must be considered alongside material resources as a determinant of whether emerging great powers are able to shape a new systemic alignment. Strategic narratives are a tool through which great powers can articulate their interests, values and aspirations for the international system in ways that offer the opportunity for power transitions that avoid violent struggle between status quo and challenger states. Complicating this picture, however, is a complex media ecology which makes the process of projecting strategic narratives an increasingly difficult one. Analysis of international political communication within this media ecology is central to evaluating how strategic narratives are projected and the interactions that follow. We argue that empirical analysis of the formation, projection and reception of strategic narratives in that media ecology offers a framework through which to generate important findings concerning power transition, domestic and international legitimacy, and recognition and identity - important because many international relations scholars thus far failed to take into account the difference such narratives make, and can make.


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Centre for Global Political Economy, University of Sussex



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