Political Influence Through Strategic Narratives in International Security, Reading Course

Scholars as well as states and organizations such as the EU and NATO increasingly warn of authoritarian regimes and other actors exploiting information as a weapon to inflict harm on others.

This course explores how states and other actors such as terrorist organizations use strategic narratives in their information influence activities. The readings are structured in three main packages.

  • The first package consists of core theoretical texts underpinning the theory of knowledge within narrative research.
  • The second presents a number of contemporary cases of projection of strategic narratives.
  • The third treats political effects and how strategic narratives influence different audiences.

The course provides students with a deeper knowledge of strategic narratives and offer ample examples of how they can be studied.


Prof. Charlotte Wagnsson is Professor of Political Science with a focus on security politics. She directs a research project financed by the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency that explores the use of strategic narratives in the domain of security. An early outcome of this project is an article from 2019 (with Costan Barzanje) “A framework for analysing antagonistic narrative strategies:
A Russian tale of Swedish Decline” in Media, War and Conflict.

Wagnsson has published her work with Routledge and Manchester University Press and in various journals. Wagnsson’s research interests include European security, political communication in the security sphere and strategic narratives.