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Svetlana Krivokhizh1, Elena Soboleva 1
  • 1 HSE University, 123 Kanal Griboyedova emb, St. Petersburg,190068, Russia.

Strategic Narratives in China’s Bid for Discursive Hegemony

2023. Vol. 18. No. 2. P. 178–192 [issue contents]
Power in international relations implies not only the possession of outstanding material resources, but also the ability to proposeand popularize attractive ideas, values, and norms and thus control discourse. Scholars note that during the presidencyof Xi Jinping, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has joined the struggle for discursive hegemony. This change in China’sforeign policy requires systematic study, for which the concept of a strategic narrative has analytical value. As defined byA. Miskimmon, B. O’Loughlin and L. Roselle, strategic narratives “are a means for political actors to construct a sharedmeaning of the past, present, and future of international politics to shape the behavior of domestic and international actors.”This article provides an overview of strategic narratives as a conceptual lens to study international relations, summarizesthe existing research of strategic narratives in general and regarding the Chinese case in particular, and suggestsdirections for future studies. The core idea of Chinese strategic narratives is that the PRC is a new type of great power that iscapable of changing the existing unjust and conflict-prone world order. At the same time, China does not propose to radicallyrevise the international system – it portrays the world as divided into great powers and the rest. Overall, China’s strategicnarratives are characterized by a duality that reflects the complexity of China’s foreign policy interests and its attempt toexpand the field of opportunity. Aimed to support different agendas, narratives include references both to the “century ofhumiliation” and the more recent successful experience of China’s modernization. The content of the narratives suggeststhat China is mainly trying to attract the developing countries of the Global South and thus form its own group of followers.However, there is significant variation in communication processes, namely the formation, projection, and reception ofChina’s strategic narratives. The study of this variation, as well as the analysis of the effectiveness of Chinese narratives, isa promising direction for future research.

This work was supported by the Russian Science Foundation under grant no 23-28-00994, https://rscf.ru/project/23-28-00994/.

This article was submitted 20.03.2023

Citation: Krivokhizh S., Soboleva E. (2023) Strategic Narratives in China’s Bid for Discursive Hegemony.International Organisations Research Journal, vol. 18, no 2, pp. 178–192 (in English)
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