Tatevik Mnatsakanyan

Department: Politics, College of Social Sciences and International Studies
Discipline: Politics

Project Summary

My PhD thesis develops a theoretical framework for treating the transformation of foreign policy/security discourses, and conducts an empirical research exploring the contestations around, and the longer-term consequences of, the foreign policy discourses on ‘war on terror’ in the US and the UK. It seeks to understand how (through what socio-semiotic mechanisms) actors in the later stages of these discourses may have been constrained by the earlier discourse, and thus have slowed down policy change. Towards a new, dialogical-relational framework, I critique post-structuralist/constructivist approaches dominant in analyses of foreign policy/security discourses, and engage with the alternative, philosophically-realist discourse philosophy of Mikhail Bakhtin, to transcend their limitations. In particular, I call for inquiring into security contestations going beyond the moment of legitimation, asking how dominant discourses have encountered, responded to, and evolved in relation to discourses of fragmentation and destabilisation, and understanding the effects of multiple representations colliding and interacting over time.

Supervisory Team

At different stages of my PhD research, I have been supervised by Professor Colin Wight (currently, at the University of Sydney), as well as Dr. John Heathershaw (Exeter) and Dr. Alex Prichard (Exeter).

Wider Research Interests

My developing/future research agenda revolves around identity and security; international discursive diffusion; de-securitisations/counter-securitisations and anti-war movements; and re-evaluation of the Copenhagen School and of discursive approaches to security through philosophically-realist discourse philosophy. Substantively, I am interested in continuity and change in the identity-security nexus in the US and the UK; and for future research, in competing Russian security representations, contesting "imaginings" of national and global "futures", and how these encounter Western security discourses.