Visual political irony in Russian new media
In modern Russia, official political discourse is routinely confronted by challenges from internet-based means of communication. Novel forms of political dialog have become widespread in new media, especially in terms of dialog initiated by “ordinary” people, who use irony and visual images to express their dissatisfaction with politicians׳ activities. This study suggests the characteristics of a special aspect of a computer-mediated political discourse in Russia. It demonstrates contextual and instrumental features of a visual political irony in new media based on a case study of the LiveJournal Internet community “Potsreotizm”. An analysis of the instruments that members of this Internet community use to create visual irony leads to the conclusion that in the virtual space, myths and concepts created by the political elite are being constantly interpreted with the help of irony and humor, and people increasingly treat these myths and concepts critically at the level of daily social routine. Reflection, context and visual representation, which are necessary to create ironical discourse, offer original vocabularies for organizing public dialog within new media. Community members׳ worldviews are not preordained by the state but are shaped by cultural, social and cognitive processes in virtual forms of communication.