A poststructuralist approach to strategic culture: Estonia's strategic response to Russia's hybrid threat
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This research has investigated how the hegemonic articulation of Estonian strategic culture mediates its strategic response to Russian hybrid threat in the information sphere. The study employs poststructuralist discourse theory as an intellectual framework and examines Estonia’s strategic culture as a discursive context. Poststructuralist discourse analysis is utilised in the empirical analysis of Estonian strategic texts. The central argument of this study is that drawing on the privileged identity of Western democracy, the hegemonic articulation of Estonian strategic culture has rendered a cluster of security practices in response to Russian hybrid threat appropriate and “normal”, namely the establishment of ETV+, the authorisation of Sputnik operation in Estonia, the partnership between Tallinn Television and Pervõi Baltiski Channel, and the public debunking practices. At the same time, such a hegemonic articulation excludes the illiberal security practices from the strategic frontier, namely censorship, nationalisation of information sphere and crackdown on Russia’s media outlets in Estonia. Therefore, Estonia’s strategic culture has created conditions of possibility for the minimalist approach to strategic response to Russian hybrid threat in the information sphere. The existing minimal strategic response is sustained by the concept of media liberalism. At the same time, the challenging political force is trying to disrupt the hegemonic articulation by bringing into play the concept of media sovereignty. However, Estonia’s strong Western democratic identity has prevented the latter from gaining momentum.
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