Online workshop

The Politics of Blaming: the Narrative Battle between China and the US over Covid-19


30 September 2020, 1:00 PM


ONLINE via Zoom: 
Passcode: 805746


Bernadette Nadya Jaworsky & Runya Qiaoan


During the COVID-19 pandemic, we are witnessing a surge of nationalism throughout an ostensibly globalized world. In this talk, we focus on the “narrative battle” over COVID-19 that has escalated between China and the US. Guided by a cultural sociological approach, we reveal the meaning-making processes behind the narrative battle through in-depth, hermeneutical reconstruction of the “reactive performance” of each country, as articulated in political speeches and mass media. We point out that, in the Chinese narrative, the country emerges from a “century of humiliation,” becoming a major world power that will no longer be subject to the “bullying” of the West. In the US narrative, even though Trump initially highlights the country’s “very good” relationship with China, as the storyline unfolds, China is blamed for the global pandemic, assuming again the role of a dangerous actor on the world stage. 

Based on a paper published in the Journal of Chinese Political Science (