This book explores the reasons behind the unexpected rise to power of Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, a former comedian with no political background, and offers an in-depth analysis of the populist messages he delivered to the Ukrainian people via his TV show.
Taking a discourse analysis approach, the author draws on two main arguments of critical scholarship: the “populist explosion” of the recent decade came as a reaction to the inequalities and injustices of the global neoliberal order, and the success of neoliberalism can be explained by its ability to mask itself under attractive progressive covers. Developing these lines of argument, the book demonstrates not only how the “populist explosion” can lead to further neoliberalization, but also that the euphemizing effect can be achieved by mixing the virtual and the real, as in the case of Zelensky.
The current issue focuses on the specifics traits of animated images in GIF format, which allow spectator to get a unique user experience of interacting with moving pictures.
In some cases "animation" does not produce a significant aesthetic effect and is mainly used to attract viewer’s attention to some information, for example, to news or an advertised product (the strategy of "attention-grabbing"); in other cases by means of animation the illustrator fully conveys a specific message, “expands” the image to add meaning.
In this article we analyze the concept of GIF-illustrations, its history, its features in comparison with other technologies for video and animation transmission, for example: Macromedia Shockwave, Macromedia Flash, Microsoft Silverlight, Java etc., and the trajectory of its further development. Since the 2010, with increasing popularity of “GIFs”, a big number of GIF artists has appeared. Both artists and illustrators who turn to GIF in order to create an art project or a commercial project, to make a statement. Therefore, today an illustrator faces a “double” task: to create an image that will “work” both in a digital environment and as a “static” (for example, on paper).
Attempting to classify various scenarios of artist’s work with an animated image we argue that such images could be divided into three categories: 1) “technical” (it has an applied function, existing as an animated version of a technical illustration and making it easier for the user to understand the operation of a particular mechanism or some mechanics); 2) GIFs, which actualize the rhythm category (the effect of their “impact” on the viewer is built up by rhythmic repetition of individual elements in the frame or the whole frame); 3) “narrative” GIFs telling a certain story (the user must complete a significant part of this story on his own). These three scenarios can complement each other and have certain extensions.
Special attention deserve the GIFs that require “slow reading” to create an unusual communication situation, and to prompt the viewer to engage in processing of a visual narrative. Here one can observe an liaison to videoart, as well as compare GIF with other contemporary “shorts”, simple, easy-to-read visual formats, for example, looped Coub microfilms.
Russian public universities went fully online in the middle of March 2020. Many classes began to be taught remotely, some of them were replaced by online courses or postponed till the fall of 2020. These events significantly changed students’ lives and learning experiences. Based on survey data from more than 18,000 undergraduate students across the country, we revealed that the most common difficulties students face during distance learning are a poor Internet connection, a lack of interactions with peers and faculty, insufficient self-regulated learning skills, and lack of a convenient place to study at home. These problems are more common for students from families with low income, those who believe that distance learning is less effective than face-to-face learning, and first-year students. However, a third of students preferred distance learning to face-to-face. The results show that the employed, computer science students, students who believe in the effectiveness of online learning, those who experience fewer difficulties during distance learning, and those satisfied with the way that their university arranged the distance format are more likely to prefer distance learning over face-to-face learning in the future.
The use of arts-based research has recently gained attention among scholars in diverse fields of social sciences for its capacity to communicate research beyond the authority of the written text as well as to engage with non-academic audiences. This article focuses on the dynamics of art as knowledge work from the perspective of contemporary art and its institutions: if academic research goes’ to the arts then how does this ‘going’ interact with the already established politics, economies and ethics of the art field? I will be arguing that research emerges as a generalized category, if not a systemic imperative, of doing contemporary visual art, and that within this territory arts-based research encounters similar issues with those surrounding academic production and consumption. I summarize challenges pertaining to issues around deprofessionalization, new forms of distinction and art’s increasing resemblance to the information apparatus.
The ultimate source of inspiration for the present study is our ambition to offer a detailed description of the history of the Aramaic verbal system. A key event in this history is what Goldenberg used to call ‘the morphological revolution’, i.e. the shift, within Eastern Aramaic, from the Middle Aramaic2 verbal systems to those of Modern Aramaic. In the course of this shift, Eastern Aramaic gave up the inherited suffix conjugation3 (*qatala) and the prefix conjugation (*yaqtulu) and developed a new repertoire of verbal forms, all of whose bases were deverbal adjectives in earlier stages of Aramaic’s history.
The book On the Digital Semiosphere by John Hartley, Indrek Ibrus, and Maarja Ojamaa is a highly original work that aims to develop a multi-dimensional method of analyzing culture and understanding the relationships among humanity, other living beings, and the planet. The authors offer a holistic method of analyzing complex interconnections between personal sense-making and global ‘big data’, whose trajectories of development appear to be mutually reinforcing. Such a ‘systematic approach to the creation of meaning and thence knowledge, by the whole species across the whole planet, is the analytical minimum needed to understand “what’s occurring”’, the authors claim
Are investors in electoral authoritarian regimes discriminated against for political activism? In
this paper, we implement a simple experiment to test whether affiliation with the ruling party
or the political opposition affects the probability that investors receive advice from investment
promotion agencies in Russian regions. Between December 2016 and June 2017, we sent 1504
emails with a short question and a number of randomized treatments to 188 investment promotion
agencies in 70 Russian regions. Although investment promotion agencies are nominally
depoliticized in Russia, we find that switching the political affiliation of a potential investor from
the opposition party “Yabloko” to the government party “United Russia” on average increases
the chances to receive a reply by 30%. The effect strongly depends on regional levels of political
competition, with higher levels of discrimination in regions that are less politically competitive.
Recently the World faced force push to distant learning caused by COVID-19 disease. Statistical numbers show a notable increasing number of users of corporate educational solutions utilizing cloud architecture. However, non-cloud-based learning tools do not meet this growth. In this work the authors consider the causes of that contradictory behaviour and present an explanation based on differences between two types of these educational systems. Also, the authors formulate an interpretation giving a list of extracted technologies or product features that allow corporate solutions to quickly gain popularity among educational society. In addition, clear examples of their connection to learning methods that can improve teaching, learning, and the last, but not the least a user’s experience are provided. And finally, the authors highlight a sig- nificant role of integration and interoperability standards supporting easy com- ponents replacement and scaling.
The article makes a case for the need to completely rethink the modern conceptual framework used to describe the processes occurring in the area of communications. Instead of multiple, difficult-to-define and contradictory terms, such as ‘new media’, ‘social media’, ‘social networks’ and so on, we suggest a summarising concept of ‘digital communication services’. Analysis of those digital services indicates that they increasingly use artificial intelligence (AI) in the field of technology communications. The article describes some of the consequences of its use.
Student evaluations of teaching (SET) are one of the most common and important practices of education quality assessment. Their origins are in paper-based surveys conducted at the end of each study module in many American universities from the middle of 20th century. Students wrote key positive and negative characteristics of a particular teacher and course and gave them a numerical rating. The forms were then used for university management decisions. Nowadays SET has transformed with its spread to universities all over the world and a shift online.
In reference to Russia, the concept of “Internet sovereignty” is commonly used to evoke the state’s efforts to tighten its control over the Internet in order to consolidate a non-democratic political regime. Many scholars have discussed Russia’s “sovereign Internet law,” adopted in 2019, yet the precise meaning of both “sovereign” and “Internet” in this context has largely been overlooked. In this article, we attempt to problematize the use of both concepts by drawing on the history of the Internet in Russia to accentuate the structural asymmetries of power in “global” Internet governance. We argue that Russia’s Internet sovereignty claims, grasped in the context of these asymmetries, can be seen as an expression of counter-hegemonic tendencies. Moreover, a historical account of the Internet’s transformation in Russia problematizes a conception of “Internet sovereignty” as unitary and unchanging.
In the era of post-truth and healthcare 2.0, when lay experts have equal credibility as medical professionals and when the internet challenges the techniques of seeking and gaining health information, healthcare systems are in need of change. The key to the path of systemic changes lies in un-knowing not only the ways health issues have been communicated, but also the very process of the production of meanings of health. In Russia, neglecting the critical assessment of communication strategies in healthcare (or, as the direct translation suggests, health protection), might well result in the field looking like the famous croquet game in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Reconciling the strategies of each “hedgehog” and each “flamingo” through a careful consideration of constantly fluctuating goals might be a much-needed shift to co-creation in Russian health communication.
In this chapter we discuss the messy meaning-making strategies (and their interactions) which characterize Russian health communication today. We open our discussion by situating the game field that produces the meaning of health in contemporary Russia. In this opening, we introduce the key health communicators (pharmaceuticals, governmental or regulatory actors, the institutional medical sector, health professionals, and patient NGOs and communities) and how they share the field. We then introduce the Russian national strategy of patient-oriented health protection and the contradictory meanings that each sector of communicators attaches to it. We elaborate on the mismatch in communication of patient-oriented health protection, discussing successes and failures of health communication practices in different sectors. We analyze how the government, activists, institutions, business, and medical professionals communicate their meanings, the place of other communicators in campaign planning and execution, and how flexible and interactive the practices of each communicator sector are. We conclude with propositions on how the road towards patient-oriented health protection can be built in Russia.
The world of late globalization is distinguished by duality and internal contradictions in socio- cultural relations and communications, which reflects in the crisis of universal models of social behavior. The only area where the principles of social universality remain relevant is the sphere of communications, where active development of new formats and the emergence of new cultural proto-artifacts continues. The coronavirus pandemic has altered the logic of development in this segment of global interaction, since it affected the very foundations of universal social behavior models. Socio-cultural relations, due to a complex of reasons, are becoming a sphere where tendencies interact and compete as well as institutions associated with the period of late globalization, including those that emerged on the wave of its crisis. At the same time, the communication environment becomes extremely important, since new technologies will make it possible to reflect not only macro-trends, but also the evolution of micro-cultures, which, in the context of a systemic (institutional) crisis of globalization, are becoming more important than usual. This symbiotic socio-cultural- communication phenomenon can become one of the most important factors in determining future models of global development. The article analyzes the most important directions of development of the sphere of socio-cultural communications and their transformation in 2020-2021. The article amplifies whether the trends for socio-cultural developments that formed through the pandemic crisis lead towards the formation of a new model of socio-cultural development or such trends remain within the traditional framework. The major conclusion is that the formation of the model has not started yet, though the risk of distraction of global socio-cultural – and probably social universality – became obvious. Conclusions are made regarding further transformation of the sphere of socio-cultural development in the current information environment
Researchers see self-regulated learning (SRL) as a fundamental skill for succeeding in massive open online courses (MOOCs). However, there is no sufficient evidence of adequate functioning of SRL dimensions such as environment structuring, goal setting, time management, help-seeking, task strategies, and self-evaluation in the MOOC environment. This study fills the gap in understanding the structure of SRL skills utilising the Online Self-Regulated Learning Questionnaire (OSLQ). The construct-related validity of the OSLQ is evaluated based on self-reported survey responses of 913 Russian MOOC learners with confirmatory factor analysis and criterion-related validity is checked with independent samples t-tests comparison. The results show that the original six-factor hierarchical model does not fit the data adequately. The evidence implies that the dimension ‘help-seeking’ is not effective in the MOOC environment. Therefore, a redefined five-factor hierarchical model of the OSLQ is suggested.
Ethnicity-targeted hate speech has been widely shown to influence on-the-ground inter-ethnic conflict and violence, especially in such multi-ethnic societies as Russia. Therefore, ethnicity-targeted hate speech detection in user texts is becoming an important task. However, it faces a number of unresolved problems: difficulties of reliable mark-up, informal and indirect ways of expressing negativity in user texts (such as irony, false generalization and attribution of unfavored actions to targeted groups), users’ inclination to express opposite attitudes to different ethnic groups in the same text and, finally, lack of research on languages other than English. In this work we address several of these problems in the task of ethnicity-targeted hate speech detection in Russian-language social media texts. This approach allows us to differentiate between attitudes towards different ethnic groups mentioned in the same text – a task that has never been addressed before. We use a dataset of over 2,6M user messages mentioning ethnic groups to construct a representative sample of 12K instances (ethnic group, text) that are further thoroughly annotated via a special procedure. In contrast to many previous collections that usually comprise extreme cases of toxic speech, representativity of our sample secures a realistic and, therefore, much higher proportion of subtle negativity which additionally complicates its automatic detection. We then experiment with four types of machine learning models, from traditional classifiers such as SVM to deep learning approaches, notably the recently introduced BERT architecture, and interpret their predictions in terms of various linguistic phenomena. In addition to hate speech detection with a text-level two-class approach (hate, no hate), we also justify and implement a unique instance-based three-class approach (positive, neutral, negative attitude, the latter implying hate speech). Our best results are achieved by using fine-tuned and pre-trained RuBERT combined with linguistic features, with F1-hate=0.760, F1-macro=0.833 on the text-level two-class problem comparable to previous studies, and F1-hate=0.813, F1-macro=0.824 on our unique instance-based three-class hate speech detection task. Finally, we perform error analysis, and it reveals that further improvement could be achieved by accounting for complex and creative language issues more accurately, i.e., by detecting irony and unconventional forms of obscene lexicon.
This article is intended to update the topic of digital celebrity in the Russian scientific research field. The key task is to describe the evolution of the conceptual mindmap of the main theoretical directions - from the classical theories of R. Merton, P. Lazarsfeld to modern authors N. Couldry, J. Alexander, D. Marshall, K. Abidin. A special focus is the analysis of a new type of celebrity digital platforms, the selection and systematization of key concepts and theoretical frames for their analysis.
As a result, a matrix for analyzing digital celebrities will be presented, describing their personal brand and career. The authors also proposed conceptual dichotomies to describe the nature of digital celebrities’ fame, the basis of their media capital.
The increase of internet penetration across Russia has reduced entry barriers for individuals and companies who want to report locally. New digital technologies have given rise to many semi-professional local media projects, so-called ‘hyperlocal media’ (Metzgar et al., 2011; Tenor, 2018), created on various online platforms and social networking sites. Websites, blogs, and social media groups (the so-called ‘pabliki’ in Russian) on the popular social networking site VKontakte have opened up new access routes to local news, both for ordinary citizens and the authorities, but have also become a challenge for traditional local media. This article investigates how the media landscape changes in response to digital technologies in a provincial town of nearly 40,000 in the European part of Russia. More specifically, the article investigates how professional journalists from traditional media and practitioners from hyperlocal media sites understand the influence of digital technologies on the aims and work practices of media in a Russian province. The study is based on in-depth interviews with the editors of traditional local media (e.g. print newspapers) and owners of new hyperlocal media initiatives. The research explores different approaches to the ways in which two groups of media actors understand and make use of the internet and digital technologies. However, within peculiar Russian media model, these differences have led to collaborative rather than competitive relations between the two groups.