Strategic narratives are an ever-more visible phenomenon in international affairs. NATO has a strategic narrative to overcome Russia. President Obama had a narrative about US interests and attention pivoting to Asia but has recently taken steps to 'reassure' Europe that it still cares about it and is part of its story. What difference do these narratives make, and how can we explain how they work?
A new symposium has been published in Critical Studies of Security in which scholars of varying perspectives and approaches present short essays that engage with the book Strategic Narratives published by Miskimmon, O'Loughlin and Roselle. The symposium concludes with a response from the three authors. The symposium shows how narratives are a feature of political life from the grand strategy of great powers down to local politics where people try to make a difference by getting others to see problems in a new way. The debate also makes clear how difficult it is to establish the intention of actors who communicate narratives and the effect of narratives. Persuasion is not easy and power through communication is a murky process.
We hope you enjoy reading it. Thanks go to Laura Shepherd at the University of New South Wales for organising the symposium.