Public PhD Defense of Domenico Valenza, UNU-CRIS PhD Fellow

20 October 2023

On Friday, 20 October 2023 at 17.00, the public PhD Defense of Domenico Valenza on Foreign Policy Onstage. Identities and Affect in Russian and EU Cultural Diplomacy in Eastern Europe and the South Caucasus will take place at  AUD D, Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 41, Technicum 2, 9000 Ghent.

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Abstract: This doctoral dissertation analyses how culture, in the form of cultural diplomacy, features in the foreign policy of Russia and the European Union in Eastern Europe and the South Caucasus. Since the second half of the 2000s, both actors have engaged in efforts to define and streamline a cultural diplomacy towards this spatial area, resulting, among other things, in several policy documents, institutions and initiatives. Crucially, Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022 further confirmed the many interconnections between culture and foreign policy. Theoretically, the dissertation develops a two-step framework that combines poststructuralist approaches and scholarship on emotions in International Relations and, by that, disentangles the practice of cultural diplomacy through the dimensions of projection and reception. Methodologically, it uses a poststructuralist-inspired interpretive lens and relies on multi-sited ethnography, with participant observation and in-depth interviews, official documents, social media data and cultural diplomatic products. Empirically, the dissertation captures Russian and EU attempts to engage in identity-building through culture and proposes a case-study approach that investigates cultural diplomatic practices in Moldova and Armenia.