An analysis of Russia’s ‘alternative’ soft power strategy and national identity discourse via sports mega-events

Kramareva, Nina (2018). An analysis of Russia’s ‘alternative’ soft power strategy and national identity discourse via sports mega-events. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This thesis seeks to show through both historical and contemporary examples what makes Russia an ‘outlier’ among key sports mega-events hosts. More specifically, this thesis sets out to establish how external and internal objectives Russia pursued in the context of the 1980 Olympics and the 2014 Sochi Olympics differed from those of other sports mega-event hosts, including non-liberal states. The originality of this thesis lies not only in the fact that it sheds light on Russia’s strategy of sports mega-event hosting, but that it does so from the vantage point of the combination of the three most popular approaches in the extant sports mega-event research: public diplomacy, place branding and soft power. Moreover, this study places Russia’s hosting of sports mega-events within constructivist international relations theory, which prioritises identity and interests. In this respect, this research, by uncovering Russia’s motives behind sports mega-events hosting, seeks to add predictability to Russia’s behaviour in the international arena. Further, this thesis shows that the pursuit of domestic soft power goals appear to be much more important to Russia than the attainment of external reputational benefits. In this respect, this thesis explores at length what role elite sport and sports mega-events play in a nation-building project in Russia and how they are used to legitimise the incumbent elites. Finally, this thesis is an attempt to overcome a Western-centric paradigmatic hegemony in sports mega-event research.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Science
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)


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