How do states reminisce? Building relations through bonding narratives

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Reminiscing during foreign state visits serves as a discursive means for building interstate relationships. When political leaders strategically narrate their states’ historical legacies, they construct a collective memory that serves as a resource for creating and sustaining amicable relations between states. Studying evocations of past events in 455 speeches delivered during foreign state visits between 2010 and 2020, we demonstrate the prevalence and significance of the practice of reminiscing in interstate politics. We suggest bonding narratives as a device through which a connection is generated between two collectives to create and sustain positive relations. Despite the unique nature of bonding narratives, the constructed collective memory mostly relies on shared memories of wars, once again underlining the link between nations and violence.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)47-65
Number of pages19
JournalCooperation and Conflict
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2024


  • bonding narratives
  • collective memory
  • foreign state visits
  • interstate relations

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Political Science and International Relations
  • General Social Sciences


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