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Welcome to the 2019 New Zealand Political Studies Association Annual Conference

"Security, Community, Humanity"

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Thursday, November 28 • 1:30pm - 3:00pm
Political Communication in International Relations: EU perceptions and narratives in the world

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Natalia Chaban, Donald Matheson, Linda-Jean Kenix
Ukraine through a Baltic Lense: Operationalising links between images, frames and narratives in IR 

The narratives and perceptions of actors in international relations (IR) have a potential to influence outlook and behaviour of general public and elites, and thereby affect external relations short- and long-term. This paper focuses on narratives of post-Maidan Ukraine and its ongoing security challenges as framed by nine leading e-news platforms in the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania (data collected within Jean Monnet Project E-YOUTH, supported by Erasmus+). The three EU member states have a reputation as champions of Ukraine’s aspiration to join the EU/NATO and as supporters of Ukraine in the context of Russia-Ukraine conflict. But with a changing Europe in the changing world, will this position remain? We assume there is a leading role of mainstream online news media in creating and disseminating frames and narratives in justifying foreign policy/IR decisions (see also Entman 2003). Varying interpretations of the same event may lead to equally varying policy responses. In our empirical focus is a pan-Baltic news agency Delfi which owns popular e-news platforms in the three Baltic countries, publishing news in local languages and tailoring it to domestic FP/IR priorities. Cognitive, emotive and affective elements of Ukraine’s media images (Hopmann 1996) are in the focus of this comparative research. They are evaluated in terms of their magnitude and visibility, emotive charge and local resonance (Entman 2003, 2004). The resulting images are argued to contribute to the narratives that project to local audiences messages on Ukraine’s perceived power, benefits and cultural affinity (Herrmann 2013) to the Baltic actors and justify self-narratives of respective foreign policies towards Ukraine challenged by the conflict.

Alexander Malkov
Analysis of Narratives on the Future Post-European Parliament Election 2019: Is Russia to become a CEEC regional leader via its interactions with V4? 

The 2019 European Parliament (EP) election witnessed a dramatic loss for the two largest parties in Europe – the European People’s Party group and the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats. Increasing populism and growing nationalism among EU member states’ political elites (internal factor) is argued by many to be behind this result. Other commentators attract attention to one possible external factor, namely an intensifying drive by the Russian Federation towards bilateralism in its relations with EU countries, and specifically with Central European EU member states. This paper aims to analyze narratives on the future of the Vishegrad Group (V4) EU member states in the world, the EU and in their relations with Russia, in the context of the 2019 EP election results and the absence of V4 member states’ representatives in the new EU leadership. Special focus is on the framing of Russia’s role as a regional leader through its interactions with V4. The study is informed by the strategic narratives theory (Miskimmon et al., 2013). Empirically, it explores papers and opinions on EU cohesion and possible post-election scenarios published by EU experts of EU-Russia and Russia-V4 relations, as well as Vladimir Putin’s and Russian elites' recent opinions.

Serena Kelly
Russia, the EU and Free Trade Agreements: a case study of New Zealand    New Zealand prides itself as a liberal free trading nation 

The country is on track to sign a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the European Union (EU) by the end of 2019 and expects to commence talks with the United Kingdom (UK) once the UK is able to do so. In 2010 negotiations began on a New Zealand-Russia FTA (alongside Belarus). These talks were suspended in reaction to Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and in line with other Western Nation’s reactions to events in Ukraine. Yet, in 2018 New Zealand’s newly appointed Foreign Minister, Right Honourable Winston Peters, made public that he intended to reopen the New Zealand-Russia FTA (www.newsroom.co.nz) This paper charts the political and economic relationship between New Zealand and Russia since 2014, addressing the potential impact of New Zealand’s Labour coalition’s stance which appeared to contravene the opinions of its traditional Western allies, including the EU and UK (www.radionz.co.nz). In particular, the paper assesses political narratives of the EU and Russia in New Zealand and their impact on public perceptions.

Nasibul Hoque
Intercultural Dialogue and the EU’s narratives on greater cross-cultural communication 

Meer & Modood (2012) assert that interculturalism is an indication to a dialogue which is not confined within groups or cultures. The White Paper (2008) of the Council of Europe – organization which features membership of all EU member states – is one policy that formulates and projects pan-European policy message on interculturalism and intercultural dialogue as instruments and finality for integration, social cohesion, national identity and tolerance. Yet, other commentators (e.g. De Perini 2019) suggest that intercultural dialogue as a cross-cultural communication model -- also used by the EU -- is underdeveloped and vague due to the model’s changing nature over time. This based paper will investigate the concept of intercultural dialogue used by the EU as one of its narratives after the 9/11 attack. The analysis will apply this concept to understand how the narrative informs the EU’s actions which aim to maintain the cross-border cultural competency. The paper will also ask whether the changes in the model over the years can have significant impact on policy level.

avatar for Muhammad Karim

Muhammad Karim

PhD Student, University of Waikato


Graeme P Auton

University of Redlands

Natalia Chaban

University of Canterbury

Nasibul Hoque

University of Canterbury

Serena Kelly

National Centre for Research on Europe, University of Canterury

Alexander Malkov

University of Canterbury

Donald Matheson

University of Canterbury

Linda-Jean Kenix

University of Canterbury

Thursday November 28, 2019 1:30pm - 3:00pm NZDT
E7 Engineering Core

Attendees (5)