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Regular version of the site

Book

Miscommunicating Social Change: Lessons from Russia and Ukraine

Lanham: Lexington Books, 2018.

Miscommunicating Social Change analyzes the discourses of three social movements and the alternative media associated with them, revealing that the Enlightenment narrative, though widely critiqued in academia, remains the dominant way of conceptualizing social change in the name of democratization in the post-Soviet terrain. The main argument of this book is that the “progressive” imaginary, which envisages progress in the unidirectional terms of catching up with the “more advanced” Western condition, is inherently anti-democratic and deeply antagonistic. Instead of fostering an inclusive democratic process in which all strata of populations holding different views are involved, it draws solid dividing frontiers between “progressive” and “retrograde” forces, deepening existing antagonisms and provoking new ones; it also naturalizes the hierarchies of the global neocolonial/neoliberal power of the West. Using case studies of the “White Ribbons” social movement for fair elections in Russia (2012), the Ukrainian Euromaidan (2013–2014), and anti-corruption protests in Russia organized by Alexei Navalny (2017) and drawing on the theories of Ernesto Laclau, Chantal Mouffe, and Nico Carpetntier, this book shows how “progressive” articulations by the social movements under consideration ended up undermining the basis of the democratic public sphere through the closure of democratic space.

Miscommunicating Social Change: Lessons from Russia and Ukraine