Media and Communications
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.
This article analyses media representations of LGBT social movements, taking the case of Saint Petersburg LGBT pride parades. The analysis is developed through the use of framing theory, which views the media as an arena where interest groups promote their own interpretations of particular issues. Frames juxtapose elements of the text in such a way as to provide the audience with a scheme within which to perceive the message. Social movements are viewed as interest groups that introduce new frames in public debate. Two types of frames can be distinguished: collective action frames and status quo frames. In this study, the usage of two collective action frames (equality frame and victim frame), and two status quo frames (morality frame and propaganda promoting homosexuality frame) were examined. Additionally, the sources of quotes used in news stories were analyzed. The study focuses on articles dedicated to Saint Petersburg LGBT pride marches in the years 2010–2017 in the most popular local Internet websites. The analysis shows that the coverage of LGBT pride marches can be divided into two distinct periods: 2010–2013 and 2014–2017. In the first period, LGBT activists dominated the coverage, quoted about twice as much as government officials. Equality and victim frames were prevalent. In the second period, activists were cited significantly less often, with the propaganda promoting homosexuality frame dominating the discourse. However, contrary to findings of previous studies on social movement representation, across the whole period under consideration, LGBT activists were quoted more often than government representatives. This finding calls for a further exploration of the conditions which allowed for such coverage in the context of political heterosexism and homophobia.
December 19, 2016, witnessed three tragedies that could not go unnoticed by the Russian media: dozens of people died as a result of a surrogate alcohol poisoning in Irkutsk, a Russian ambassador was killed in Turkey, and a terrorist attack took place at the Christmas market in Berlin. In this article, we use the network agenda-setting theory to analyze how these tragedies were covered by different types of mass media. We show that ties between the tragedy and a network of other acute issues are more important than objective circumstances, such as the number of victims or the geography of the event. The context in which the events were examined led to greater attention to the killing of the ambassador and less attention to the surrogate alcohol poisoning. We believe that the state can exercise indirect control over the agenda by creating a network of events that will correctly guide discussions about tragedies.
The visual art of the last decades privileges, explicitly or implicitly, social rather than art historical or aesthetic issues. In sites ranging from university classrooms and journals to museums and biennials, the emphasis is usually put on how effectively art handles the social issues of the day while questions of aesthetic value are often treated as suspicious and ideological. Given this anti-art character in these contexts of mediation, the insistence to perceive the objects as artistic objects constitutes a paradox that has been rarely discussed in sociological terms. This article draws on ethnographic research in order to explore “biennial art” that is to say the art that displayed in contemporary art and international platforms of showcasing. These platforms struggle to maintain a concept of art as social practice while at the same time nurture an exclusive and highbrow environment in which “artfulness” is key. I call this quality artfulness so as to both underline its artificiality as well as the inventiveness and skills required for its production. Artfulness in these sites is enabled through various formal or informal rituals of valorization, including guided tours, curatorial statements, media promoting activities and artist talks. These rituals, positioning certain objects within the sphere of art and producing them as objects meriting aesthetic interpretation, resemble the politics of publicity found in aesthetic capitalism at large.
This article analyses the discourse about the opposition politician Alexei Navalny in Russian media. Navalny has been actively engaging with his audience through social media and online platforms; however, some media continue to ignore the politician, practically not covering his activities. The article analyses the intensity and sentiment of the media coverage of Navalny based on data from Medialogia. It is concluded that the media in general do cover the politician’s activities and attempts to deliberately ignore news about him are only made by TV stations. However, news about Navalny is often negative. While blogs offer a more positive outlook on the politician’s activities than do the other types of media that the article considers, the majority of the coverage of Navalny in Russian media is of a critical nature. In addition, an analysis of positive and negative news in various types of media suggests that the way the politician’s activities are covered primarily involves not information about what he did or did not do but rather the various media interpretations of these actions.
This paper is devoted to the issue of so–called ‘trophy films’ in the context of Soviet foreign policy. The aim of this research is to reveal how the cultural competition between the USSR and the USA during the early Cold War caused the emergence of the famous credit title «This film was captured as a trophy after the Soviet Army defeated Nazi troops near Berlin in 1945», and, as a consequence, resulted in the establishing of ‘Trophy Film’ concept in public discourse.
In this paper, we propose an alternative approach to analysing the current duality of the Russian media system, which for a long time was regarded as transitional. We propose to interpret the current Russian media system in terms of institutional conflict between norms, which were artificially implemented and the grounded informal rules embodied in everyday practices both from market agents and audiences. Mainly implemented after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the norms were based on a neo-liberal representation of the media system, involving financial independence of the media from the state, a ‘news culture’ instead of a ‘propaganda culture’ and so on. At the same time, the informal rules were based on the paternalistic role of the state, the accessibility tradition and the fragmentation of the public sphere. The interaction of such elements forms the dualist or ‘uncertain’ character of the media system.
In his recent book The Discursive-Material Knot, [Carpentier, N. (2017). The discursive-material Knot: Cyprus in conflict and community media participation. New York: Peter Lang]. Nico Carpentier identifies three nodal points of antagonistic discourse: the need for destruction of the enemy, homogenization of the self as opposed to the enemy, and the radical difference of the enemy. The latter appears when the self and the other are thought to be irreconcilably at odds, and the enemy is presented as inferior. In the more extreme cases, this radical othering leads to a dehumanization and demonization of the other, which makes the destruction of the enemy easier. Using post-Maidan social confrontation within Ukraine and its Facebook discussions as a case study, this paper analyzes how exactly the radical othering and subsequent dehumanization of the enemy is discursively structured, and describe the conditions under which such extreme manifestations of conflict could be eliminated with the ultimate goal of transforming antagonistic into agonistic discourse.
This paper explores, mainly from a legal perspective, the extent to which the Russian regulations of traditional TV and online audiovisual media policies have been consistent with the Council of Europe (hereinafter CoE) standards. The study compares between the CoE and Russian approaches to specific aspects of audiovisual regulation including licensing, media ownership, public service media, digitalization, and national production. The paper first studies the CoE perspective through examining its conventional provisions related to audiovisual media, the case law of the European Court of Human Rights as well as the CoE non-binding documents. The paper then considers Russian national legislation governing audiovisual media and the Russian general jurisdiction courts’ practice on broadcast licensing. The paper suggests that the Russian audiovisual regulations are insufficiently compatible with the CoE standards and more in line with the Soviet regulatory traditions.
This article combines Media Studies' and Fan Studies' approaches to such phenomenon as global manga spread, highlighing the role of participatory cultures and fan communities in the distribution, translation and interpretation of manga in Russia. The first part of the article is dedicated to participatory cultures as a concept and cultural reality in Russia, to differences between such notions as "otaku" (manga and anime fans), fan practices, fan cultures and participatory cultures. The article stresses the productive transformative potential of participatory cultures as cultural agents, their ability to cross national and cultural borders on their own terms and to influence the development of global phenomena within local contexts, even when national cultural industries, including the mass market, are not capable for some reasons to fulfil this task properly. The second part of the article is dedicated to the international reception of a controversial manga and anime title "Made in Abyss". This case demonstrates the ability of participatory cultures to become a space for open discussions of problematic questions, for production of knowledge and thinking about Japan as well as about local cultures.