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Narrative Research Lab

The aim of the Narrative Research Lab (NRL) is to create and disseminate scientific knowledge about how narratives – that is, stories about society and the world – affect political reality in a world that is increasingly digitalised.

Contemporary politics at national and international levels is characterised by language battles and battles of narratives. This is most accentuated when much is at stake, such as in the event of a crisis or war.

At the Narrative Research Lab (NRL), located at the Swedish Defence University, we conduct research about politics and security and put narratives front and center. Our research concerns issues of narrative, politics and security at all political and administrative levels. We examine how political actors use narratives to reach out with their messages; how people interact with these narratives; and how established and deeply institutionalised narratives create conditions for both.

Our ambition is to collaborate with different societal actors and to disseminate our research to different societal arenas. NRL was established in 2022, but research in the field has been conducted at the Swedish Defence University for more than a decade.

Goals

  • To conduct innovative and high-quality research based on the conviction that narratives are central to the study of politics and security.
  • To develop theories and methods in order to strengthen research on narrative, politics and security.
  • To collaborate with prominent researchers internationally and with actors in the surrounding society.
  • To create and conduct courses, supervise undergraduate theses and doctoral dissertations in the research area.

Co-Directors

Linus Hagström, Professor of Political Science, and Charlotte Wagnsson, professor of Political Science.

Active researchers in the area at the Swedish Defence University

Rasmus Andrén

Maria Hellman

Arash Heydarian Pashakhanlou

Yrsa Landström

Magnus Lundström

Nicola Nymalm

Annick Wibben

Stephanie Winkler

Associates

Maxime Audinet, Institut de Recherche Stratégique de l’Ecole Militaire

Paul Charon, Institut de Recherche Stratégique de l'Ecole Militaire

Thomas Colley, Sandhurst/King’s College

Emil Edenborg, Stockholm University

Karl Gustafsson, Stockholm University/Swedish Institute of International Affairs

Sten Hansson, University of Tartu

Aiden Hoyle, University of Amsterdam/TNO/Netherlands Defence Academy

Carolijn van Noort

Carl Ritter, Stockholm School of Economics

Joanna Szostek, University of Glasgow/Chatham House

Location

We are based at the Swedish Defence University, Drottning Kristinas Väg 37, Stockholm.

Publications on narratives

Hagström, Linus, Charlotte Wagnsson & Magnus Lundström (2022): "Logics of Othering: Sweden as Other in the Time of COVID-19", Cooperation and Conflict

Hagström, Linus & Thao-Nguyen Ha (2022): “Resentment, Status Dissatisfaction, and the Emotional Underpinnings of Japanese Security Policy”, International Relations of the Asia-Pacific

Wagnsson, Charlotte & Magnus Lundström (2022): "Ringing true? The persuasiveness of Russian strategic narratives", Media, War and Conflict, available online ahead of print.

Wagnsson, Charlotte (2022): "The Paperboys of Russian Messaging: RT/Sputnik Audiences as Vehicles for Malign Information Influence", Information, Communication and Society, available online ahead of print.

Hagström, Linus & Karl Gustafsson (2021): “The Limitations of Strategic Narratives: The Sino-American Struggle over the Meaning of COVID-19”, Contemporary Security Policy 42(4): 415–449.

Hagström, Linus (2021): “Great Power Narcissism and Ontological (In)Security: The Narrative Mediation of Greatness and Weakness in International Politics”, International Studies Quarterly 65(2): 331–342.

Hagström, Linus (2021): “Disciplinary Power: Text and Body in the Swedish NATO Debate”, Cooperation and Conflict 56(2): 141–162.

Pan, Chengxin & Linus Hagström (2021): “Ontological (In)Security and Neoliberal Governmentality: Explaining Australia’s China Emergency”, Australian Journal of Politics and History 67(3–4): 454–473.

Wagnsson, Charlotte & Costan Barzanje (2021): “A Framework for Analysing Antagonistic Narrative Strategies: A Russian Tale of Swedish Decline”, Media, War and Conflict 14(2): 239–257.

Hagström, Linus & Astrid Nordin (2020): “China’s Politics of Harmony and the Quest for Soft Power in International Politics”, International Studies Review 22(3): 507–525.

Hagström, Linus & Chengxin Pan (2020): “Traversing the Soft/Hard Power Binary: The Case of the Sino-Japanese Territorial Dispute”, Review of International Studies 46 (1): 37–55.

Deverell, Edward, Charlotte Wagnsson, Eva-Karin Olsson (2020): “Destruct, Direct and Suppress: Sputnik Narratives on the Nordic Countries”, The Journal of International Communication 27(1): 15–37.

Wagnsson, Charlotte (2020): “What is at Stake in the Information Sphere? Anxieties about Malign Information Influence among Ordinary Swedes", European Security 29(4): 397–415.

Gustafsson, Karl, Hagström, Linus & Ulv Hanssen (2019): “Long Live Pacifism! Narrative Power and Japan’s Pacifist Model”, Cambridge Review of International Affairs 32 (4): 502–520.

Hagström, Linus & Karl Gustafsson (ed.) (2019): "Narrative power in International Relations", Special Issue of Cambridge Review of International Affairs 32 (4): 387–558.

Hagström, Linus & Karl Gustafsson (2019): “Narrative Power: How Storytelling Shapes East Asian International Politics”, Cambridge Review of International Affairs 32 (4): 387–406.

Hagström, Linus & Erik Isaksson (2019): “Pacifist Identity, Civics Textbooks, and the Opposition to Japan’s Security Legislation”, Journal of Japanese Studies 45(1): 31–55.

Olsson, Eva-Karin, Charlotte Wagnsson, Kajsa Hammargård (2019): “The Use of Political Communication by International Organizations: The Case of EU and NATO”, in James Pamment and Corneliu Bjola, Countering Online Propaganda and Violent Extremism: The Dark Side of Digital Diplomacy. London: Routledge.

Wagnsson, Charlotte (2018): “Europe: Take on Your Responsibilities”, in The European Union: Facing the Challenge of Multiple Security Threats. Cheltenham and Northampton: Edward Elgar.

Hellman, Maria & Charlotte Wagnsson (2017): “How Can European States Respond to Russian Information Warfare? An Analytical Framework”, European Security 26(2): 153–170.

Hagström, Linus & Ulv Hanssen (2016): “War is Peace: The Re-articulation of ‘Peace’ in Japan’s China Discourse”, Review of International Studies 42 (2): 266–86.

Hagström, Linus & Ulv Hanssen (2015): “The North Korean Abduction Issue: Emotions, Securitisation and the Reconstruction of Japanese Identity from ‘Aggressor’ to ‘Victim’ and from ‘Pacifist’ to ‘Normal’”, The Pacific Review 28 (1): 71–93.

Hellman, Maria & Charlotte Wagnsson (2015): “New Media and the War in Afghanistan: The Significance of Blogging for the Swedish Strategic Narrative”, New Media and Society 17(1): 6–23.

Hagström, Linus (2012) “Power Shift in East Asia? A Critical Reappraisal of Narratives on the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands Incident in 2010”, Chinese Journal of International Politics 5 (3): 267–97.

Wagnsson, Charlotte (2011) “NATO’s Role in the Strategic Concept Debate: Watchdog, Fire-Fighter, Neighbour or Seminar Leader?", Cooperation and Conflict 46(4): 482–501.

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