Talk: “The Importance of Being Soft: Russian Soft Power Identity Narratives,” Eleonora Tafuro Ambrosetti, METU, G-160, 12:30PM December 6 (EN)


“The Importance of Being Soft: Russian Soft Power Identity Narratives”

Eleonora Tafuro Ambrosetti
Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher, Middle East Technical University

6 December 2016 Tuesday at 12:30
Bilkent University Main Campus, G Building, Room: 160

“One of the most pressing issues that soft power scholars face nowadays is the problematic
application of the concept to non-Western, sometimes illiberal, rising powers. As a contribution to
this debate, this research looks into the triangular relationship between soft power, identity and
discourse, and presents an analytical framework to assess Russia’s soft power through its three
main identity narratives (‘Russia as a champion of multilateralism and multipolarity’, ‘Russia as a
conservative power’, and ‘Russia as an elder brother’) constructed through official discourse, i.e.
speeches, foreign policy concepts et cetera. These narratives have very different effects
depending on where they are employed. In Russia’s neighbourhood, they tend to appeal to likeminded
political elites and those segments of the society more refractory to change, such as those
nostalgic of Soviet Union, and they can also give way to hard policies, as the crisis in Ukraine
shows. In the West, on the other hand, these narratives tend to appeal to forces that challenge
the existent order. The presentation will draw upon a forthcoming book chapter and primary data
gathered during a fieldwork in Russia.”

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