Narrative practice in international politics and diplomacy: the case of the Crimean crisis

  • Alisher FaizullaevEmail author
  • Jérémie Cornut
Original Article


This article analyses international conflicts through defining and discussing narrative practices. We distinguish various sites where clashes of narratives materialise and specific narrative practices are performed: in traditional diplomacy, in public diplomacy and in the media. We reach three conclusions: narratives influence all aspects of diplomatic practice, including strategic negotiations in secret talks and public engagements; state and non-state actors’ practices enact narratives and the growing interconnectedness can fosters clashes of narratives; in crafting and performing political narratives, diplomats and non-state actors refer extensively to legal norms and international law exploiting them as elements of narration. At a theoretical level, we incorporate practice theory into narrative analysis and vice versa, building a bridge between the practice turn and the linguistic turn in constructivist thinking. To illustrate, we analyse the Crimean crisis in February and March 2014 that opposed Russia and Ukraine and its Western supporters.


conflict of narratives Crimea geopolitics linguistic turn practice theory public diplomacy 



This article was written at the Centre for International Peace and Security Studies, McGill University, where Alisher Faizullaev was a Visiting Scholar, and Jérémie Cornut was a post-doctoral fellow. We are grateful to Ulugbek Azizov, Anne-Marie D’Aoust, Ben Foldy, Ted Hopf, Sébastien Mainville, Vincent Pouliot, Rhonda Zaharna, as well as the editors of JIRD and two anonymous reviewers for their invaluable comments and suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Practical Diplomacy and Negotiation Laboratory, University of World Economy and DiplomacyTashkentUzbekistan
  2. 2.Department of Political Science, University of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

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