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Article

Radical self-representation in a hostile setting: Discursive strategies of the Russian lesbian feminist movement

Social Media and Society. 2021. Vol. 7. No. 1. P. 1-11.
Mikhaylova O., Gradoselskaya G.

Today, internet provides opportunities for solidarization and collective action to initiative groups of social movements, including those of high degree of radicalism. For radical groups, language continues to be a crucial instrument through which social movements influence public attitudes. In this article, we analyze discursive strategies that the radical social movement (RSM) of Russian lesbian feminism uses to shape its image among the out-group and in-group publics. To identify the strategies of RSM self-representation, we employ semi-structured interviewing, qualitative content analysis, discourse analysis, and semantic network visualization. We find that, in a hostile anti-LGBT legal and discursive environment, self-representation of lesbian feminists is mostly linked to issues of aggression, violence, and systemic social, political, and legal constraints, unlike in the United States; it is also based on separation from the wider society and dehumanization of bearers of patriarchal views.