NPCU @ #ISA2016 Atlanta: Russia and Ukraine on the agenda

Research from the New Political Communication Unit will be presented at this year's International Studies Association (ISA) Annual Convention in Atlanta, Georgia, 15-20 March 2016. At a pre-conference workshop on Peace, Conflict & Security on the 15th, Joanna Szostek will present a paper entitled, Universal distrust amidst information overload: News navigation strategies of students in Russia. At the main convention, Ben O'Loughlin is on a roundtable of leading policy practitioners and scholars that follows up last year’s roundtable debate about ‘rapid response public diplomacy’. Ben is also convening a panel on communication and conflict in Ukraine, with a great line-up of presenters:

Strategic Narratives and Ukraine

Thursday, March 17, 8:15 AM - 10:00 AM
Panel TA61: Strategic Narratives and Ukraine
Room 210, Hilton Atlanta

  *   Chair: Ben O'Loughlin (Royal Holloway, University of London)
  *   Discussant: Michael McFaul (Stanford University)

Abstract: There is a paradox in strategic narratives of war today. Political actors must try to set out narratives that represent a chain of cause-effect relationships. However, creating consensus around such relationships is becoming more difficult. Leaders must constantly respond to competing voices narrating conflict, making their efforts to shape the narrative both more complex and more necessary. Strategic narratives are partly an exercise in achieving a narrative structure of meaning for events in a context when, because of digital technologies and emergent dynamics, those events are not reducible to a narrative structure of meaning. In addition, any meaning is susceptible to revision when old, hidden images newly emerge. Put plainly, even for Great Powers, producing a compelling strategic narrative of war has never been more difficult. This panel takes the Ukraine crisis as a crucible to examine the role of narratives in meaning-making amid conflict and diplomatic standstill. The papers build a multi-dimensional image of how NATO, Ukrainian and Russian leaders seek to build understandings of the past, present and future of Ukraine for audiences inside Ukraine and beyond. It brings together foreign policy, conflict and insecurity, and communications.

Valentina Feklyunina (Newcastle University): Kyiv's Public Diplomacy: Strategic Narratives of and for Ukraine

Sarah Oates (University of Maryland): Russia's New War of the Words: How the Invasion of Ukraine Redefines Strategic Narrative

Alister Miskimmon and Ben O'Loughlin (Royal Holloway, University of London): Weaponising information: Putin, the West and Competing Strategic Narratives of Ukraine

Laura Roselle (Elon University): Strategic Narratives and Alliances: NATO Responses to Ukraine

Joanna Szostek (Royal Holloway, University of London): News media choice and views of the West in Russia: a study of narrative reception among university students

We hope anyone at the convention can join for these events.