Strategically narrating a joint development path: the case of BRICS

PhD Candidate Carolijn van Noort
Politics Department & Media, Film and Communications Department, University of Otago, New Zealand

Date:  14 July 2016      

14:30  – 15:30

Venue:    VCRs, Pretoria, Cape Town, Durban

The HSRC seminar series is funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST). The views and opinions expressed therein as well as findings and statements of the seminar series do not necessarily represent the views of DST.

The BRICS group consisting of five emerging markets; Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, recognize and respect the different development paths of its fellow members. Their aspirations in terms of their role in the international world have been projected through joint declarations, actions plans, websites and public speeches. Since the inception of the BRICS group in 2009, they aim to project a comprehensive vision that accommodates economic and political interests. This paper identifies and analyses the narration of this development using a process tracing case study. It emphasizes the impact of the economic and political challenges in 2015-16 on the projection of a cohesive identity. It uses the theoretical concept of strategic narratives by Miskimmon et al to explore BRICS narrated development. Following the tradition of the narrative turn in international relations, the article evaluates the development narratives of BRICS. It uses Aristoteles’ notion of ethos, logos and pathos and follows the argument that a narrative is based on approximately 10% credibility of its narrators; 25% on its performance; and 65% on its emotional persuasiveness to influence and convince external audiences of their aspirations.

This paper evaluates the challenges in 2016 that arguably impact BRICS’ narrative persuasion and offer a more disruptive narrative development than publicly projected. This paper addresses BRICS narratives in a complex media landscape of 2016 and argues that a strong strategic communication endeavor should be employed to endorse a benefitting trend.

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