Let’s Agree to Disagree: A Coorientational Study of U.S.-Russia Relations

In recent years, countries have increased their strategic communication efforts to engage foreign stakeholders, committing significant resources to this cause, often with a specific aim at younger audiences. This research focuses on two countries that often dominate in international public diplomacy efforts and examines how Russian and American youth view the current relations between Russia and the United States (U.S.). The article contributes to advancing research on coorientation theory and argues that coorientation can be one of the theoretical foundations for the strategic communication field. Using the official documents produced by both countries, the study first identifies major issues affecting their relations. Then, using survey methodology, the study collects data from both U.S. and Russian respondents related to these issues. Previous research identified four major coorientation scenarios–monolithic consensus, pluralistic ignorance, false consensus, and dissensus. The study’s findings suggest that the type of coorientation scenario that best characterizes the U.S.-Russia relations is dissensus. The results also highlight the status of strategic communication as an interdisciplinary science with coorientation theory’s psychological roots providing a usable framework with a testable model for strategic communication scholarship. © 2019, © 2019 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Laskin A.V.1 , Popkova A.2 , Nesova N.M. 3 , Kashirskikh O.4
  • 1 Department of Strategic Communication, School of Communications, Quinnipiac University, Hamden, CT, United States
  • 2 School of Communication, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI, United States
  • 3 Department of Foreign Languages, School of Philology, RUDN Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia, Moscow, Russian Federation
  • 4 School of Communication, Media and Design, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russian Federation
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