Reproducing ‘geopolitics’ – national identity representations of foreign affairs in Moldova
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Breaking away from the positivist trend dominating the literature on Moldova’s foreign relations, this thesis analyses the means through which national identity discourses impact on Moldovan societal representation of foreign policy. It contends that national identity perpetuates a Cold War inspired view of foreign affairs. This construction is defined by two main elements, the representation of the civilizational and geopolitical cleavage between East and West and the lack of agency awarded to the Moldovan self. This is achieved through an in-depth study of the national identity debate in Moldova. It focuses on both the two main national identity discourses in Moldova, Romanianism and Moldovanism. For this analysis, I employ a post-structuralist approach, conceptualising national identity as a discourse that helps us make sense of the world. Through this function and its persistence across Moldovan articulations, national identity plays a key role in representations of foreign affairs in Moldova. More specifically, the opposition between Romanianism and Moldovanism reproduces the East-West geopolitical and civilizational cleavage, whilst the representation of Moldovan inferiority, historical debt and the Great Power Complex reiterates Moldova’s passivity and lack of agency. Through this Cold War representation of international affairs, national identity offers both the resources and the limits within which official Moldovan foreign policy articulations function. In this way, national identity is crucial in understanding the mechanisms through which foreign policy is legitimated and, especially, the validity and credibility of certain arguments and the unlikelihood of others.
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