Paul Sanders

Paul Sanders is a historian and management scholar. He is a full-time professor at Reims Management School in Reims, France. He has published across the disciplines of history, international relations and leadership.

 

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Under Western Eyes.
How meta-narrative shapes our perception of Russia – and why it is time for a qualitative shift

The Illustration of The Great European War
Taking a social-constructivist perspective, the article profiles the impact of cognition on Western interpretations of Russian historical development. The starting point is the tenacity of particular Russia memes; the empirical basis for the article is provided by the output of influential thinkers, scientists and practitioners that dominates discourse. Since the nineteenth century this ideological output has situated Western-Russian relations within a meta-narrative of freedom and democratization. This meta-narrative has alternated between two operating modes: an Orientalist search for a Russian civilizational “black box”, on the one hand, and a missionary vision, driven by an aspiration to recreate Russia in the Western image, on the other.” During the Cold War era the meta-narrative was enriched by new scientific narratives, “path dependency” and “patrimonialism”. The article stresses the need for “competing narratives” and concludes with suggestions as to what agenda might replace superseded Russia narratives, as well as the wider “super-story”.
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