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Research The Groningen Research Institute for the Study of Culture (ICOG) Research Research centres Centre for International Relations Research (CIRR) Chair Group International Relations & Security Studies

CIRR-IRSS Colloquium - Alvina Hoffmann (King's College London): "Claiming the right to speak for Crimea: Spokespersons and the transformation of political spaces"

When:We 05-06-2019 16:00 - 18:00
Where:Room 1313.0344, Harmonie building

This paper will analyse how Crimea has become represented as a (pro-)Russian political space in the lead-up to its annexation, theorising the connection between various kinds of spokespersons, rights claims practices and political spaces through a relational mode of analysis. In building on reflexive sociology, this paper will look at the struggles between different groups that claim to speak for Crimea, the constitution of these different groups through spokespersons and the act of delegating speech to these spokespersons. This analysis will show that it is not enough to confine the analysis to either the military invasion and (para)military groups, or Putin’s motivations, or international legal norms. Instead, I will argue that a set of socio-political and socio-legal processes at various scales instigated the representational changes to the political space, enabled the seizure and the Russian strategic occupation of the peninsula. I will develop this argument in three stages. First, I will situate my contribution into the broader literature of critical citizenship studies and critical geopolitics, showing how the role of spokespersons has to be foregrounded. Second, I will analyse various actors that claim to speak for Crimea, claim rights in its name and the effects of this speech on the political space that came to be represented as a homogenous territory, detached from mainland Ukraine and claimable by Russia. Finally, I will theorise the broader implications of the annexation of Crimea for International Relations by foregrounding political-sociological analyses of the transformation of political spaces.