Deconstructing contemporary Russian national Identity: analysing discursive reactions to crisis situations
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The following thesis addresses Russian identity in times of crises and the differences between the official pro-government discourse and the discourse in the public sphere. In order to trace contemporary Russian national identity, I use discourse analysis of three cases of crises: the war in Syria, the conflict in Ukraine and the refugee crisis in Europe. As conflict situations, crises and wars involve opposition between two or more sides. Therefore, drawing on Hopf’s idea that identities are relational, identities become more explicit in crises situations as they are shown in relation and opposition to each other. The other aim of this research is to find differences between the official discourse and the discourse in the public sphere. This is done through discourse analysis of the pro-government popular media outlets (for the official discourse) and pro-government bloggers (for the discourse in the public sphere). I argue that discourse differs in those too. Drawing on Foucauldian ‘truth regime’ and concepts of body and power, I contribute another topic for the analysis - body control through homophobic sentiments. Based on the notion that the state needs to take control over the human body, fertility and demography (which is particularly important during the time of crisis), I argue that biopolitics is a leitmotif for the other aforementioned topics and has to be taken into account. I also argue that strong support for the promotion of traditional values is used as a tool to strengthen identity building.