Strategic narratives of the past: an analysis of China’s new silk road communication

Carolijn Van Noort

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
28 Downloads (Pure)


Political actors communicate strategic narratives to shape the meaning of place-images in the past, present and future. Whether narratives about the past are persuasive depends on the translation of historical ideas embedded in these narratives across time and space. Moreover, the imagination and re-imagination of historical place-images in foreign policy communication are contentious, because they stand for specific power relations and identity narratives. Therefore, actor’s selective uses of history require disambiguation to increase positive perception. This abstract argument is theorized in an investigation of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, specifically the communication of a New Silk Road. China’s promotion of the Silk Road legacy is frequently contested with Great Game interpretations. Through the novels of Marco Polo and Rudyard Kipling, which present historical imaginations of the Silk Road and the Great Game, this study shows the contentiousness of historical place-images across time and space.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)186-205
Number of pages20
JournalGlobal Society
Issue number2
Early online date4 Oct 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Oct 2019


  • China
  • Strategic Narratives
  • Aesthetics
  • Silk Road


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