Be it the gas dispute with Ukraine, the American missile shield in
Eastern Europe or the Iran crisis – for several years now
Russia has demonstrated growing self-confidence in interstate
diplomacy and international politics. Not only has coverage of
Russia-related issues increased in Western media, but there has also
increased a particular kind of coverage which depicts Russia as
having shed the conformity of the 1990s to boldly and independently
pursue its national interests. Russia’s role in the world is
changing and this change begs key questions as to Russia’s
geopolitical position: What role should Russia play in world
politics? What are its interests, who should it be loyal to? Where
does it belong?
While foreign policy is an important component, the search for Russia’s geopolitical identity takes place at all levels of Russian society. The Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) occupies a prominent position in the negotiation of geopolitical identities. Once dubbed the ‘anvil of cadres’ of the Soviet nomenclatura, it has developed into a particular kind of ‘elite university’ in the post-Soviet age. With the reassertion of Russia’s self-confidence, a young generation of students is educated at MGIMO who knows of Russia primarily as an emerging country.
Between Pravda and Prada a multiplicity of geopolitical imaginations of Russia’s role and place in the world compete for constitutive hegemony at MGIMO. In this vortex the articulation of geopolitical identities unfolds as a hybrid in its own right – a product of transformation processes which are marked by unprecedented openness but at the same time, inevitably, are subject to attempts at hegemonialisation and closure.
My dissertation conceptualises the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 as a dislocation effect within Laclau and Mouffe’s discourse theory, serving as a trigger of antagonistic struggles for the articulation of new identities. Drawing on material from ethnographic field research and interviews, I aim to describe these antagonisms as well as the processes by which geopolitical identities are articulated and how they play out seen through the particular lens at MGIMO.
Russia, foreign policy, critical geopolitics, discourse, poststructuralism
|start of project||2005|
|end of project||2008|
Russia, foreign policy, critical geopolitics, discourse,