by Andrey Makarychev, University of Tartu

This working paper proposes a cultural reading of security, focussing on Russia as a case study. Following Alexander Wendt’s logic of “cultures of anarchy”, the paper treats the sphere of security as generative of cultural meanings constitutive for international actors’ identities. It is through discourses and images that different conceptualizations of security are constantly (re)constructed and applied to various policy issues. In this sense, different security cultures can be discussed as regimes of signification and representation that are essential for (re)producing Russia’s international subjectivity through a series of speech acts aimed to stabilize and secure Russian identity. As seen from this perspective, key issues are how various security discourses are instrumental for repositioning Russia both spatially (vis-à-vis its external Others), and temporally (vis-à-vis Russia’s own past). It is this recurrent dynamics of interiorization and exteriorization of different meanings (through either textual narratives or imageries generating multiple self–other distinctions) that defines the cultural background of security debates in Russia.

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