The introduction outlines the overall argument of the book that narratives in international politics cannot be freely changed or manipulated by narrators, but that narratives have to conform or at least connect to previously existing ones. The acceptance of narratives is contingent on the intertextuality of the narratives being told and those embedded amongst the audience. The introduction briefly embeds narrative analysis in a wider field of discursive approaches in IR, and then elaborates on the role of the media and cultural artefacts in the articulation of stories in international politics. Finally, the introduction outlines the structure of what is to follow in the remaining empirical chapters on German narratives of pirates in Somalia, British narratives of rebels in Libya and US narratives of private military and security companies in Iraq.
Chapter one outlines in detail a method of narrative analysis which is to be employed in the following three empirical chapters on pirates, rebels and PMSCs. It begins by reflecting on the concept of narrative in Literary Studies and Narratology and outlines some of the key elements which distinguish a narrative from other forms of representation. This includes the notion of a setting in which the story unfolds, the characterization of actors in the story and the idea of temporal and most importantly causal emplotment which elaborates on how events, settings, and characters are connected to each other. The chapter then imbeds the narrative elements of setting, characterization and emplotment into key constructivist theoretical foundations including the social construction of reality (setting), the constitution of identity (characterization) and the co-constitution of agents and structure (emplotment). The final part of the chapter turns to the genre of romance and, from the existing literature on romanticism, indicates some of the narrative elements of a typically romantic story, including an exotic and emotional setting, a brave, heroic yet human character and an adventure emploted as a struggle for an ideal in an asymmetrical conflict against a more powerful and unjust order.
This book is a story about the importance of stories in International Relations. It brings insights from Literary Studies and Narratology into IR and political science by developing a new discourse analytical method of narrative analysis. Focusing on the three narrative elements of setting, characterization and emplotment, the book argues that narratives are of fundamental importance for human cognition and identity construction. Narratives help us understand the social and political world in which we live. The book emphasizes the idea of intertextual narratability which holds that for narratives to become dominant they have to link themselves to previously existing stories. Empirically the book looks at narratives about pirates, rebels and private military and security companies (PMSCs). The book illustrates in the case of pirates and rebels that the romantic images embedded in cultural narratives influence our understanding of modern piracy in places like Somalia or rebels in Libya. Dominant romantic narratives marginalize other, less flattering, stories about these actors, in which they are constituted as terrorists and made responsible for human rights violations. In contrast, in the case of PMSCs in Iraq the absence of such romantic cultural narratives makes it difficult for such actors to successfully narrate themselves as romantic heroes to the public.
Chapter four investigates US narratives about PMSCs in Iraq. In contrast to the previous chapters on rebels and pirates this chapter will indicate the cultural absence of romantic stories about PMSCs. The first part retraced the historic development of the anti-mercenary narrative from Machiavelli via the American Declaration of Independence to representation of mercenaries in international law texts. The persistence of this anti-mercenary narrative is then shown in literary texts on mercenaries by examining Sir Walter Scott’s novel A Legend of Montrose and Frederick Forsyth’s novel The Dogs of War. The second part turns to the US media narratives on PMSCs and shows the persistence of these negative elements. The third part of the chapter engages the narratives found on the websites of PMSCs and illustrates how these actors try to tell a romantic story by constituting themselves as brave patriots and noble humanitarians. The final part of the chapter then illustrates the narrative struggle and the marginalised status of these romantic stories and the persistence of the highly negative anti-mercenary narratives by examining the story told in US print news media, among the political elite, in international institutions as well as in pop-cultural representations in films and video games.
This chapter partly argues that entering conflict is a lot easier than exiting conflict and that there are no quick, easy solutions. It also acknowledges that there is no neat universal solution, for wherever people attempt to build peace, while the challenge will be the same there will be differences of context, memory, ambition, personality, resources and outcome. It reviews critical developments in the Northern Ireland peace process, concluding that there is a time for moving on.
For most of the twentieth century Russia was markedly more authoritarian than it is today. Nonetheless, many observers of Russia in the first decade of the twenty-first century see a country increasingly moving back to authoritarianism, in comparison with the democratising moves and mood of the 1990s. This chapter places developments in contemporary Russia within the empirical and analytical contexts of the post-Soviet period. There is an apparent duality about both of these contexts, and this duality is centred on the issue of democratisation. Since President Putin's election in 2000, many observers have remarked on the ‘two faces’ of Vladimir Putin — is he a democratic or an authoritarian leader? Legitimate though this question undoubtedly is, this chapter argues that its inherent duality arises partly from the dominant analytical frameworks of the post-Soviet era, and militates against a more holistic and explanatory understanding of the current Russian regime. It also outlines the securitisation approach and assesses its applicability to domestic politics in contemporary Russia, focusing on areas such as security and the Chechen conflict, economic policy, and migration policy.
This chapter analyses the sources of anti-Americanism under a number of headings: personality; philosophical differences; policy differences; and systemic divisions. It demonstrates that when America retreats from the world bad things happen, instancing rejection of the League of Nations. America needs to be engaged with the rest of the world, since it cannot meet the challenges of the twenty-first century by itself. American values, it argues, are universal values.
In September 1999, Russian federal forces moved into the Republic of Chechnya, a constituent part of the Russian Federation located in the North-Caucasus region. This military campaign came to be known as the second Chechen war, following on from the first Chechen war of 1994–1996, and an uneasy period of peace and de facto self-rule lasting for three years between 1996 and 1999. The existence of conflicting discourses in relation to the situation in Chechnya illuminates well the way in which Vladimir Putin's government, and particularly in this case Putin himself, have consciously used the discourse of securitisation in some settings, at the same time as employing the conflicting discourse of ‘de-securitisation’ or ‘normalisation’ in others. International criticism of Russia's actions in the republic has been countered by the insistence that the Chechen conflict is a key part of the war against terrorism. After describing Russia's counter-terrorism in Chechnya, this chapter discusses Putin's commitment to political normalisation through the support of accelerated reconstruction, social provisions, and economic recovery.
Beginning with the religion law of 1997, and progressing through laws on social organisations, political parties, extremists, migration, foreigners, the media, and political demonstrations, the Russian state has tightened up its control of civil society in recent years. According to Aleksandr Gurov, a current member and former chairman, the Duma Committee for Security considers the concept of national security in the widest sense. This chapter examines securitisation in contemporary Russia as a specific feature of domestic policy-making. It focuses on the use of the securitisation discourse to convince key audiences — policymakers, legislators, and the general public — that particular policy areas are legitimate security concerns and therefore require special attention, oversight, and control. The first example of a securitisation discourse in a specific area of civil society in contemporary Russia is in relation to religion and, specifically, the Law On Religious Associations passed in 1997. As part of its analysis of Russia's securitisation efforts in the areas of spirituality and extremism, this chapter also discusses other legislation on civil society including the Law On Combating Extremist Activity enacted in 2002.
The Conclusion sets out the political and intellectual contexts within which the individual chapters on peacemaking are located. It includes insights from major commentators. In particular, it discusses the democratic challenge and the two competing visions of Europe and the United States.