Russia on display: Sochi-2014 as a project of belonging in contemporary media
2013 (English)In: Zhurnal Sotsiologii i Sotsialnoi Antropologii, ISSN 1029-8053, Vol. 70, no 5, 221-234 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Mediated mega-events are essentially projects of belonging: about imagining communities and about creating attachment to such collective selves. However, events like the Olympic Games are not only an opportunity for states to reinforce official constructions of belonging but can also be sites for the articulation and dissemination of contesting identity narratives. This article investigates Russian media narratives around the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, mainstream as well as alternative. It is argued that the Russian regime uses the Olympics to create national and global visibility for a specific project of belonging: that of a re-emerging great power – strong and united – but also an inclusive and tolerant place which can serve as an international example of ethnic and religious conviviality. This imagined community, however, rests on exclusions and silences. In addition, three alternative projects of belonging, emerging from the Circassian diaspora, LGBT rights activists and Islamists, are examined. Although these are very different, they all attempt to use the spotlight of the Sochi Olympics to disrupt the mainstream narrative and create visibility for challenging imaginations of community. On the more general level the article argues that the media contestations around the Sochi Olympics provide an insight into how the quest for visibility has become a central dynamic in the Russian media environment.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 70, no 5, 221-234 p.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-31165OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-31165DiVA: diva2:1048794