This article shows that national constructions of the Other are not fixed, but evolve as a result of policy makers’ agency, the domestic contestation among different identity narratives and their interaction with international structures. This is illustrated through an interpretive Social Constructivist approach and the Discourse-Historical Analysis (DHA) of narratives of Russia as an Other in German national identity. The article investigates the paradoxes of identity/difference and of continuity/change, which constitute the theoretical core of this Special Issue. It is argued that, in a longue durée perspective, narratives of Russia as an antagonistic Other have evolved and allowed for the emergence of less oppositional forms of difference. This change had an impact on German foreign policy, notably through the emergence of the cooperative Ostpolitik towards Russia. From the 1960s, Germany’s genocidal past was constructed as the main Other in national identity, whereas Soviet Russia was reconceptualised as an economic partner. I argue that this conceptualisation has proven remarkably resilient and has not disappeared in the context of the 2008 Georgian war and the current Ukraine crisis. While the Ostpolitik narrative temporarily lost momentum at the height of the crisis, it is ready to resurface as soon as structural conditions change.

An evolving Other: German national identity and constructions of Russia

Siddi, Marco
Primo
2018-01-01

Abstract

This article shows that national constructions of the Other are not fixed, but evolve as a result of policy makers’ agency, the domestic contestation among different identity narratives and their interaction with international structures. This is illustrated through an interpretive Social Constructivist approach and the Discourse-Historical Analysis (DHA) of narratives of Russia as an Other in German national identity. The article investigates the paradoxes of identity/difference and of continuity/change, which constitute the theoretical core of this Special Issue. It is argued that, in a longue durée perspective, narratives of Russia as an antagonistic Other have evolved and allowed for the emergence of less oppositional forms of difference. This change had an impact on German foreign policy, notably through the emergence of the cooperative Ostpolitik towards Russia. From the 1960s, Germany’s genocidal past was constructed as the main Other in national identity, whereas Soviet Russia was reconceptualised as an economic partner. I argue that this conceptualisation has proven remarkably resilient and has not disappeared in the context of the 2008 Georgian war and the current Ukraine crisis. While the Ostpolitik narrative temporarily lost momentum at the height of the crisis, it is ready to resurface as soon as structural conditions change.
2018
Foreign policy; Germany; identity; Russia
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
Siddi_Germany Russia_Published Article.pdf

Solo gestori archivio

Descrizione: Articolo Principale
Tipologia: versione editoriale
Dimensione 140.41 kB
Formato Adobe PDF
140.41 kB Adobe PDF   Visualizza/Apri   Richiedi una copia

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11584/312697
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus 13
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 9
social impact