Identity in International Relations – Dialogism, liminality, and carnival in relations between US, China, and Russia after the Cold War

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Wednesday, March 9, 2016 - 3:30pm
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Wednesday, March 9, 2016 - 3:30pm


The concept of identity has traditionally been the home turf of constructivist theorizing in International Relations. Yet, most studies are overly focused on a corporate, hence asocial, understanding of the relationship between self and other, or the role of difference which tends to represent the other in threatening terms. Recently, the concept of liminality and dialogism, based on the work of Mikhail Bakhtin, have been introduced to develop a processual and dialogical understanding of identity formation in which the relationship between self and other is in perpetual flux and subject to constant negotiation. This research intends to pick up this line of conceptual reasoning and further develop it by a closer reading of Bakhtin’s concept of the carnival. Empirically, the project is situated in the context of post-Cold War identity discourses unfolding between the US and China, on the one hand, and US and Russia, on the other. Specifically, the investigation will focus on the respective vocabularies of threat which serves as a common dialogical platform for each side to contest and negotiate their respective identities.