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Title [en]
Connecting soldiers: Media ecologies and materialities on the East Ukrainian frontline (a postdoc project)
Abstract [en]
This postdoc project suggests studying media use at the frontline in Eastern Ukraine (primarily by soldiers but also by civilians who live in the warzone on the side controlled by the government of Ukraine) from the perspective of actor-network theory by way of in-depth interviews and participant observation. It is based on growing yet unsystematic evidence of the broad and unorthodox use of media infrastructure and personal technology in the Donbas war. The project’s relevance and urgency are stipulated by its potential to shed light on the heretofore unstudied aspect of the Ukrainian conflict, one of Eastern Europe’s gravest currently, and to enable new critical perspectives regarding the dynamically changing use of media during war as empirical studies from battlefields are lacking. The theoretical approach is based on actor-network theory focused on interaction between humans and technology in a specific context (of war, in this case), problematising the politics of media access, media infrastructure and materiality of media. The project is situated in the growing subfields of the critical studies of mediatised conflict, soldiers’ media cultures and media witnessing.
Publications (2 of 2) Show all publications
Horbyk, R. (2023). Mediatisation of War and the Military: Current State, Trends, and Challenges in the Field (1ed.). In: Katarzyna Kopecka-Piech; Göran Bolin (Ed.), Contemporary Challenges in Mediatisation Research: (pp. 111-128). London: Routledge
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Mediatisation of War and the Military: Current State, Trends, and Challenges in the Field
2023 (English)In: Contemporary Challenges in Mediatisation Research / [ed] Katarzyna Kopecka-Piech; Göran Bolin, London: Routledge, 2023, 1, p. 111-128Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This chapter presents a comprehensive overview of studies in the subfield of mediatisation of war and military. While its beginnings can be traced back to McLuhan and Baudrillard, the concept of “mediatised war” became standard in the mid-2000s and developed during the 2010s. Key theoretical currents are preoccupied with how the military adapts to transformations of news media and how virality and connectivity challenged the military media management through the diffused war and made it morph into the arrested war. Mediatisation also informs a conceptual backdrop in many empirical war and media studies (often published in Media, War and Conflict). These can be grouped under six categories: (1) representation of war; (2) new versus legacy media in war; (3) new and social media use in war; (4) artistic mediation of war; (5) history of war mediatisation; and (6) digital war, which is also treated as a field of its own (concentrated around the eponymous journal). Despite three key deficits – of conceptual consensus and development, of dialogue with adjacent fields, and of on-the-ground studies, the field appears dynamic and capable of generating highly productive concepts and models.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London: Routledge, 2023 Edition: 1
National Category
Media and Communications
Research subject
Baltic and East European studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-51276 (URN)10.4324/9781003324591-10 (DOI)9781003324591 (ISBN)9781032346816 (ISBN)9781032349428 (ISBN)
Funder
The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies, 7/2019
Available from: 2023-04-04 Created: 2023-04-04 Last updated: 2023-04-04Bibliographically approved
Horbyk, R. (2022). “The war phone”: mobile communication on the frontline in Eastern Ukraine. Digital War, 3(1-3), 9-24
Open this publication in new window or tab >>“The war phone”: mobile communication on the frontline in Eastern Ukraine
2022 (English)In: Digital War, ISSN 2662-1975, Vol. 3, no 1-3, p. 9-24Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

One of the problems in the growing subfield of mediatization of war is evidence on how exactly civilian communication devices become integrated with warfare. In this article, I focus on patterns of use of mobile phones on the frontline in Eastern Ukraine. Based on qualitative in-depth interviews with Ukrainian servicemen and women, this article presents a typology for the frontline use of mobiles in the spirit of actor–network theory. The omnipresence of mobiles on the battlefield creates a set of unique participatory media practices. A variety of personal purposes, such as private communication and entertainment, are combined in the same device with wiretapping, fire targeting, minefield mapping and combat communication. Mobiles supplant old or unavailable equipment and fill gaps in military infrastructure, becoming weaponized and contributing to the hybridization of the military and the intimate, and of war and peace. These results imply the role of mobiles as a mediated extension of battlefield and question the very definition of what constitutes weapon as tool of combat.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Palgrave Macmillan, 2022
National Category
Communication Studies
Research subject
Baltic and East European studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-52379 (URN)10.1057/s42984-022-00049-2 (DOI)
Funder
The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies, 7/2019
Available from: 2023-09-22 Created: 2023-09-22 Last updated: 2023-09-22Bibliographically approved
Principal InvestigatorHorbyk, Roman
Coordinating organisation
Södertörn University
Funder
Period
2020-01-01 - 2022-12-31
Keywords [sv]
Östersjö- och Östeuropaforskning
Keywords [en]
Baltic and East European studies
National Category
Media and Communications
Identifiers
DiVA, id: project:2037Project, id: 7/2019_OSS

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