Deconstructing Digital Rhetoric to Face Geopolitical Challenges: A Social Media Narrative Analysis Framework


  • Maria-Magdalena Popescu Carol I National Defense University



strategic narrative, digital rhetoric, social media, resilience, analysis framework, geopolitical challenges


Skyrocketing technological advancement along with changes in environment dynamics allowed people, states and governments to influence each other’s diplomacy, security and international relations, using words and images, strings of events, to construct narratives. The rhetoric of power and conflict is  distributed in chameleonic volatile environments, targeting members of the society to challenge security status and power balance, while new media instruments feed people`s thirst for information to challenge their beliefs into tailoring attitudes and behaviours. Defined by many as a “portrayal of events surrounding change” (Dunford and Jones, 2000) or as “central feature of modern influencing across borders (Wagnsson  and Lundström, 2023) in a continuous “battle”, (Van Noort, 2017), strategic narratives bear multiple meanings, generated by the  versatility of the digital dissemination channels. Understanding these meanings enlighten many directions, like international relations, diplomacy and politics, resulting in risk-free engagement, vulnerability- awareness and controlled decision-making policies, just by using narrative analysis as the appropriate instrument. However, the classical analytical models do not provide enough lenses to grasp all the components generating meaning in a digitally disseminated content and many features are thus ignored, mutilating paramount intelligence otherwise needed to complete the picture. That is why, this paper advances a model framework for a digital narrative analysis that looks at components of the textual narrative backed by the features of the environment, the characteristics of the audience and the dynamics of the dissemination, coupled with more recent social media metrics. To this end, we reviewed literature on Russian formalism (Propp, 1928), (Tomashevsky, 1965) structuralist narratology (Todorov 1969, Genette 1988, Bal 1977), poststructuralism  (Chatman,1978) and postclassical narratology (Herman, Fludernik, 1999) to the most recent digitally related approaches (Georgakopoulou, 2020), (Bal, 2021) and then advanced our analysis framework that adds specific traits which social media environments enhance. We thus intend to contribute to the large body of literature with an analytical model, to render a  mould of the strategic narratives in the security, defence, politics and international relations.. This paper is part of a larger study, the framework will be piloted in further research, where data will be gathered to validate the model.