Call for papers: Narrating Russian and Eurasian security

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Place: King's College London

Date: 18-19 June 2018

N.B. This is a past event. We are no longer accepting applications for this workshop. 

In the context of polarised debate at all levels of international relations, particular narratives are being reinforced, dividing lines drawn, dialogue cut short. Nowhere is this more apparent than in discussions of Russian and Eurasian Security, where reversion to well-worn narrative frames on all sides, hampers the pursuit of effective responses to contemporary security challenges.

This workshop, jointly organized by the British International Studies Association (BISA) working groups on Russian and Eurasian Security and Interpretivism in International Relations, will unpick current narrative trends both inside and outside the region, relating to Russian and Eurasian security. It will analyse contemporary narratives in Russia and Eurasia, and their component elements, and examine the extent to which they replicate prejudice, downplay contingency and over-emphasize the ability of policymakers to shape, master or control events. The workshop will also explore alternative scenarios: both alternative approaches to narrating Russian and Eurasian security; and alternative methodological approaches to the analysis of Russian and Eurasian security narratives.

We invite proposals on topics including (but not limited to):

  • The relationship between narrative and security policies in Russia and Eurasia

o   i.e. narratives about State versus Human security; multiculturalism and diaspora politics; regional security cooperation; grand strategy; regime security

  • The ‘international’ dimension to Russian and Eurasian security narratives

o   i.e. narratives that look to describe, explain or legitimate patterns of cooperation and conflict in international organisations; ‘information warfare’; positions on international law; changes in the global political economy; representations of old and new world orders

  • The politics of narrative competition in Russia and Eurasia

o   i.e. narratives that change or reinforce existing political practices in Russia and Eurasia: scripts that legitimate authoritarianism, or the opposite, bolster moves for counter-hegemonic and bottom-up change; (new) media as a generator of (new) narratives; the role of narratives in the politics of memory

  • Innovations in the methods of narrative analysis

o   i.e. the techniques of studying historical narratives; strategic narratives; media narratives; narratives of world order; and an evaluation on what fresh perspectives these modes of narrative analysis bring to the study of Russian and Eurasian security

Attendance bursaries

We encourage applications from PhD students and will be offering a limited number of bursaries to cover participants’ travel and accommodation expenses. Allocated on the basis of need, these bursaries will cover up to £200 for participants registered at UK/EU/European institutions; and up to £400 for participants registered at non-UK/EU/European institutions. If you would like to be considered for a bursary, please include a 2-3 sentence explanation of your eligibility for funding within your application. Please note that successful recipients of a bursary must be registered members of BISA and of one of the host working groups, by the time of the workshop ( for membership).


Authors will be informed about the selection outcome by the end of March. Confirmed participants will be asked to submit their papers two weeks before the workshop. To ensure thorough preparation and active participation, participants will be required to have read all papers, and are assigned a discussant role for one specific paper.