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Eurasianist Rhetoric in Russia and Kazakhstan. Negotiating Hegemony through different Visions of Society.

Baumann, Mario (2018) Eurasianist Rhetoric in Russia and Kazakhstan. Negotiating Hegemony through different Visions of Society. Central Asia and the Caucasus, 20 (1). pp. 34-42. ISSN 1404-6091. E-ISSN 2002-3839. (KAR id:80662)


This study fathoms the question what Eurasianist discourse in Russia and Kazakhstan reveals about contemporary hierarchy dynamics between Russia and Central Asia.

To grasp these dynamics, the study relies on an English School theoretical framework. It links Filippo Costa Buranelli’s ‘negotiated hegemony’ concept with the gemeinschaft-gesellschaft distinction introduced to the English School by Barry Buzan. While the former provides an analytical framework for contemporary spheres of influence arguing that great powers are in need of the approval of the sovereign states they seek to influence, the latter opens up room for different approaches to (regional) international society. Whereas gemeinschaft is used to denote an understanding of society as a civilizational entity based on a shared culture and with common norms and values, gesellschaft-type societies are understood as a product of pragmatic and functional interaction. This study argues that the degree of hierarchy in a regional international society and the gemeinschaft-gesellschaft distinction constitute two interrelated dimensions. More generally speaking, the analysis suggests that the type of society preferred or promoted by an actor is interrelated with this actor’s stance within a hierarchical relationship. Following this reasoning, a(n aspirational) hegemon will promote a gemeinschaft-type society because this civilizational ideal offers a greater leverage to generate legitimacy as well as to wield influence over other actors of the society.

The Russo-Kazakh Eurasianist discourse offers an instructive example of these dynamics. Both countries’ foreign policy rhetoric formulates different visions of an Eurasianist society that are insightful in understanding their relative positioning towards each other. It is suggested that Russia’s invocation of a civilizational gemeinschaft-type society built on a common culture and identity serves to legitimize its hegemonic claims towards Central Asia. The functional gesellschaft vision which Kazakhstan conveys through its pragmatic Eurasianist rhetoric constitutes in turn a resistance to these hegemonic claims by highlighting sovereign equality and invoking counter-hegemonic narratives.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled keywords: English School, Negotiated Hegemony, Gemeinschaft, Gesellschaft, Eurasianism, Central Asia, Russia
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DK Russia. Soviet Union. Former Soviet Republics
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
Depositing User: Mario Baumann
Date Deposited: 30 Mar 2020 16:44 UTC
Last Modified: 09 Dec 2022 01:35 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Baumann, Mario.

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