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Sergei Bogdanov

Issues in the Development of the BRICS’ Strategic Narrative

2019. Vol. 14. No. 2. P. 173–190 [issue contents]

During the last decade the BRICS group of developing countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) became a noticeable phenomenon in international relations. Discussion continues among politicians and experts about the group’s perspective, its sustainability and its potential both for further institutionalization and to become a more integrated community. Many experts are pessimistic about the prospect that BRICS will gain more influence, taking account of slowing economic growth, economic asymmetry, different political goals and the distinct strategic cultures of the group’s members.

Under such circumstances elaboration of a BRICS communication strategy becomes an issue of vital importance. The first step might be the design of a strategic BRICS narrative which could act as an interpretative platform framing the perception of key issues, establish the connection between the past and a vision of future, and designate the group’s identity. Such a narrative could serve as the basis for strategic positioning, which is the key component of a communication strategy. It enables the formation of a basic discourse and key messages which can be transmitted through diversified channels of communication.

This article outlines the strategic narrative of BRICS, drawing from the model of strategic narrative and the concept of national biography. The narrative of the international system, the identity narrative and issue narratives are considered as key components of its strategic narrative. Similarly, parameters of national biography are exposed: myths about the birth of community, significant experiences in the past, images of the future, the spatial facet and relationships with other countries and communities. This analysis identifies those components of the strategic narrative that are sufficiently developed and describes ways to further elaborate others.

A constructivist approach is used, according to which a “strategic narrative” is considered to be social construct elaborated to achieve particular strategic goals, in combination with a holistic analysis which views the different tracks of BRICS activities as intertwined. Content analysis of documents from BRICS summits (primarily of the summits in Xiamen, China in 2017 and Johannesburg, South Africa) and public speeches by the leaders of BRICS countries is undertaken.

Citation: Bogdanov S. (2019) Issues in the Development of the BRICS’ Strategic Narrative. International Organisations Research Journal, vol. 14, no 2, pp. 173-190 (in English). DOI: 10.17323/1996-7845-2019-02-07.
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