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.
People socialized in different cultures differ in their thinking styles. Eastern-culture people view objects more holistically by taking context into account, whereas Western-culture people view objects more analytically by focusing on them at the expense of context. Here we studied whether participants, who have different thinking styles but live within the same culture, exhibit differential brain activity when viewing a drama movie. A total of 26 Finnish participants, who were divided into holistic and analytical thinkers based on self-report questionnaire scores, watched a shortened drama movie during functional magnetic resonance imaging. We compared intersubject correlation (ISC) of brain hemodynamic activity of holistic vs analytical participants across the movie viewings. Holistic thinkers showed significant ISC in more extensive cortical areas than analytical thinkers, suggesting that they perceived the movie in a more similar fashion. Significantly higher ISC was observed in holistic thinkers in occipital, prefrontal and temporal cortices. In analytical thinkers, significant ISC was observed in right-hemisphere fusiform gyrus, temporoparietal junction and frontal cortex. Since these results were obtained in participants with similar cultural background, they are less prone to confounds by other possible cultural differences. Overall, our results show how brain activity in holistic vs analytical participants differs when viewing the same drama movie.
Internet censorship remains one of the most common methods of state control over the media. Reasons for filtering cyberspace include ensuring the security of the current regime, attempts to limit all kinds of opposition movements, and the protection of the religious and moral norms of society. In Arab countries, where religion plays a major role in the sociopolitical sphere, the latter is particularly important. Since, in Islamic law, there is no direct reference to censorship in practice, governments cause many resources to be filtered under various pretexts. At the same time, as the example of Egypt during the Arab spring shows, moral and religious reasons for filtering the Internet have more grounds than, say, the persecution of opposition leaders.
2017 was a year of anniversaries in Russian history. It was 100 years since the Bolshevik Revolution and 80 years since the Red Terror – the period of the most massive repressions in the history of our country. In memory of these, in September 2017 the Wall of Grief in Moscow was built. In June 2017, the Student Agency of the School of Integrated Communications and the Laboratory for Political Science at HSE with the support of the Memory Fund and the GULAG History Museum conducted All-Russia online-based research, which was devoted to student attitudes to the Soviet period of political repressions. 884 students from Russian universities, who were informed about repressions in USSR in the 20th century, answered questions about the preferred forms and channels of communication with the State, Russian media coverage of this topic, and their personal perception of political repressions.
The paper explores how traditional storytelling adapts to the digital environment andadopts/assimilates it. This study is based on a corpus of fourteen semi-structured in-depth interviews of researchers and performers with an expertise in seven differentstorytelling traditions. Therefore, we present a new typology of traditional storytellers and depict their Internet/New Media usage specifics.
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.
The article presents the results of the research of media image of Russia as a great power in the international political media discourse. The main method used was the content analysis of a corpus of American, British, German, French and Spanish printed media texts during the period from 2000 to the present time. Despite the fact that Russia appears today in a fundamentally new quality and the international political establishment still sees it as one of the leading world powers, its image in the foreign media is mostly negative and largely based on stereotypes of the last century. Special attention the media pays to Russian foreign policy, describing it as aggressive and based on «imperial ambitions». The consequence of all this is a rejection of Russia as an integral part of the «civilized world», as a state which is ready to share «universal values» as they are seen by the Western society.
The following article presents the results of an individual academic research, dedicated to the analysis of structure, functions and effects of political storytelling in terms of so-called “era of post-truth politics”. The author would like to introduce some concepts and approaches to storytelling from the points of view of Russian literary studies and comparative literary criticism, which includes ideas and insights of major literary historians of Russian Empire and Soviet Union. The author claims these ideas important, adaptable and relevant for the key ideas about storytelling that were drawn by Western social studies, as literature has a unique position and approach in Soviet Unioin, being regarded as “ideological add-on of society”. The following analysis leads to schemas of deconstruction of the acts of political communication worldwide through the lens of so called “shared narratives” (in Western tradition) and “wandering (migrating) plots” (in tradition of Russian Empire and Soviet Union literary studies` tradition). The last part of the article presents narrative analysis of three cases of modern political communication in Europe, Russia and U.S.A. The intention of the author was to show three of so called “wandering plots” elements in political communications of international leaders. Case of Europe covers political communication of Iens Stoltenberg, Prime Minister of Norway, during the election rally in 2013. Case of Russia covers political communication of current president Vladimir Putin during the reconstruction of his biography in 2015. Case of U.S.A. covers political communication of Donald Trump, the elected president of U.S.A., during the election rally in 2016.
The article considers Weber’s theory of charismatic power as an interpretive model for the examination of religious beliefs. Traditionally, academic thought has interpreted the source of the power as either a leader’s personal characteristics or constructive actions performed by his / her group. Instead of searching for the causes of charismatic authority, I am interested in ways of performing charismatic authority and techniques for its realisation. My fieldwork was conducted in a remote Russian village with an Orthodox community, devoted to a spiritual elder (starets). Through careful ethnography, I will describe the post-Soviet conditions that have transformed a collective farm into a religious group, the group’s organisational characteristics, and the process by which the leader’s charisma is routinised. The main goal of the article is to analyse the communicative practices of the community. I suggest that many of the presuppositions on which our everyday face-to-face communication is based would not hold in a case in which an interlocutor, according to believers, had superhuman abilities (e.g., the ability to predict the future). Thus, the micro level of interactions can change the whole structure of a community. My primary perspective for the reconsideration of charismatic authority is a perspective drawn from linguistic anthropology.
Today we cannot but notice the sequence of the considerable changes in the present-day social and cultural order through the obvious process of its invasion by certain semiotic constructs, possibly described as political myths, and nearly all of them closely connected with the issue of past/present/future glory. This glory could be lost (e.g., the col-lapse of the USSR), or gained anew (e.g., the joining of Crimea in 2014). The concepts of glory and victory in Russian political discourse are bound up with each other so closely that it is difficult to divide them. Besides, glory and victory are being gradually possessed by the establishment. At the same time, political myths are the means and the aim of this process. Myth comes forward as a universal code, and moreover, as a universal social-cultural matrix which contains patterns of ethics that are to be installed into the society. Besides, myth is a structure based upon the category of shap-ing the reality in which people may believe, not the category of belief. In the sphere of the media, myth broadcasts itself mainly through memes, using them both as instruments and as a certain communication channel. The structure of a meme is semiotic, while there is still a communicative difference between a meme and a myth. The idea of political glory is closely connected with the sphere of myth and with the concepts of time and space. This kind of integration makes up what Bakhtin called a “chronotope.”