China and Inner Asia
Organized Panel Session
Political science and international relations have, in recent years, undergone a “narrative turn”, meaning that scholars put increasing focus on the role of storytelling to explain why certain actors achieve their goals while others do not. The study of autocratic regimes, however, has remained largely unaffected by this narrative turn. Instead, scholars continue to emphasize political institutions as the key factor determining the resilience of non-democratic forms of government. To address this gap, our interdisciplinary panel—bringing together Asian regional studies, political science, international relations, and communication studies—applies frameworks of narrative analysis to the single-party regimes of Northeast Asia (China, North Korea). Based on a variety of innovative research methods, the different papers tackle the question of how political actors in these regimes use narrative devices to further their own agendas: How do regime agencies employ storytelling to “sell” policy to relevant audiences and to consolidate their grip on power? What narratives do opposition movements spin to mobilize resistance against non-democratic rule? The discussion will provide new insights into why the single-party regimes in China and North Korea were able to survive the collapse of the Communist bloc in the early 1990s.