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Stigmatisation in international relations: Russia, the West and international society from the Cold War to Crimea

Rogstad, Adrian (2019) Stigmatisation in international relations: Russia, the West and international society from the Cold War to Crimea. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This study analyses the effect of stigmatisation – the process of marking certain actors, behaviours or attributes as deviant in order to reinforce the norms of a social order – on Russian-Western relations from 1991 to 2016 and the broader normative fabric of post-Cold War international society. Building on the stigma literature in Sociology and recent applications of stigma theory in International Relations, stigmatisation is conceptualised as a relational process central to how international politics works, most notably in terms of what it means to be a ‘normal’ state. The study makes two overall contributions. First, to the literature on Russian-Western relations, it provides a critical-theoretical, relational account of the co-constitutive relationship between the two that goes beyond the blame game of much recent work. Second, to the literature on international society and international norms, it provides an account of the contestation that takes place over norms to shape expectations of ‘normality’ in international society. In the process, it also offers to the IR stigma literature a sociological conceptualisation of stigmatisation that challenges structural, psychological conceptualisations. The study adopts a fourfold definition of the components of stigmatisation (stereotyping, labelling, separation and status loss), and a fourfold definition of stigma management strategies (stigma recognition, stigma evasion, stigma rejection, counter-stigmatisation). It uses these foundations to analyse Russian-Western relations in respect of four norms of state behaviour deemed central to contemporary international society: (liberal) democracy, human rights, non-aggression, (liberal) capitalism. It gauges how stigmatisation and stigma management work in relation to each norm, and what that says about the norm’s importance in contemporary international relations. In conclusion, the study considers the extent to which stigmatisation in Russian-Western relations has made international society ‘hang together’, that is whether Western stigmatisation of Russian behaviour and Russian stigma management has served to strengthen or weaken international society’s norms.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2019 Adrian Rogstad
Library of Congress subject classification: D History General and Old World > DK Russia. Soviet Union. Former Soviet Republics
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Sets: Departments > International Relations
Supervisor: Neumann, Iver and Lawson, George

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