Improvising regions: diplomatic practices between Russia and the Republika Srpska
Territory, Politics, Governance
Taylor & Francis
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Jackson, T., & Jeffrey, A. (2019). Improvising regions: diplomatic practices between Russia and the Republika Srpska. Territory, Politics, Governance https://doi.org/10.1080/21622671.2019.1688674
There has been growing political and scholarly interest in the diplomatic practices of sub-state regions, sometimes referred to as ‘paradiplomacy’. This work explores how such diplomatic acts challenge the hegemony of the state system while articulating new geopolitical configurations that may centre on religious, territorial or ethnic accounts of identity. The paper examines the nature and significance of relations between the Republika Srpska (RS) and Russia, arguing that such interactions are improvisations that summon the region into existence, rather than reflecting a pre-existing geopolitical landscape. Developing existing practice theory approaches to diplomatic studies, the paper uses Pierre Bourdieu’s concept of capital to illuminate the symbolic resources available to the RS through which it may perform its legitimacy. Particular attention is paid to the Orthodox Church as a symbolic field that facilitates diplomatic intimacy between the RS and Russia. By arguing that regions are improvised, the paper suggests that the RS does not present itself as a state-in-waiting, but rather as a fully-fledged geopolitical actor that utilises its liminal status to project significance within diplomatic affairs. This unsettles the normative placement of the region within studies of diplomacy and develops understanding of the political strategies of the RS and Russia.
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/21622671.2019.1688674
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/299947