Infantilising the Other: The Metaphor of Childhood in Russia's Media Discourse on International Relations
The article deals with analysis of role of childhood metaphor in Russia’s media discourse on international relations. The authors consider symbolic infantilization as a means of symbolic politics, which consists of likening an individual or group to a child in order to gain advantages in the political struggle. The potential use of the childhood metaphor in politics is due to the fact that the adult / child opposition is attracted as a matrix to denote relations of power and
submission. In the hegemonic discourse of modern Russian media, the symbolic infantilization of the Other is part of the remasculinization of Russia, one of the functions of which is the legitimization of power through the infantilization of its opponents endowed with traits of irresponsibility, incompetence, and capriciousness. Using the metaphor of childhood, Western countries and post-Soviet states are also described, which contributes to the representation of
Russia as a strong, sovereign, rational, that is, “adult” country. An analysis of the case of representations of today’s Ukraine showed that Ukrainian society is directly labeled as infantile, as well as indirect - by attributing faith in miracles, emotionality, egocentrism, irresponsibility, and the inability to self-control.