Great Powers after the Bush Presidency: workshop on geopolitical narratives

Ben O’Loughlin, Alister Miskimmon (RHUL), and Andreas Antoniades (Sussex) have been awarded a Catalytic Workshop Grant of $5,000 by the International Studies Association to hold a workshop on the theme, ‘Great Powers after the Bush Presidency: Interests, Strategies and Narratives’. The workshop will take place on 14 February 2009 in New York City prior to the ISA Annual Convention.

The workshop begins an investigation of how leading world powers pursue interests in the world through the use of narrative strategies. Great powers have always gained internal and external utility from the strategic projection of national narratives. But two trends warrant a renewed focus on such strategies. First, the long-term rise of emerging powers to challenge US pre-eminence will entail narrative ‘work’ on their part, both domestically and internationally, as they each adapt to new power balances. Second, a transformed communications environment means narrative strategies must account for an extended global media ‘menu’ of channels and the unpredictable presence of dispersed, participatory media which can undermine strategic narratives. By examining how major powers project their narratives around key events through the discussion of a series of case studies, this workshop offers the starting-point for an empirically-led re-assessment of theories and approaches to analyzing the intersection of interests, strategies and narratives, to explain the forces shaping Great Power politics at the beginning of the 21st century.

Agreed participants include David Dunn (Birmingham, UK), Andrei Tysgankov (San Francisco State), Geoffrey Roberts (Cork), Laura Roselle (Elon), Kathy Fitzpatrick (Quinnipiac), Vivien Schmidt (Boston), Philip Seib (Annenberg USC), Ted Hopf (Ohio State), Hongying Wang (Syracuse), and Adrian Hyde-Price (Bath). There is also funding for a Young Scholar, to be recruited through open competition later this year.