Accepted Paper:

Image of Europe as inverse reflection: review of comments of modern Russian intellectuals on publications in European mass media  

Author:

Veronica Usacheva (Russian Academy of Science)

Paper short abstract:

The paper investigates the images, ideas, prejudices and stereotypes attributed to Europe by modern Russian intellectuals. It is a case study of the forum materials from the popular Internet project InoSmi.ru, which translates into Russian the foreign mass media’s materials.

Paper long abstract:

The paper investigates the images, ideas, prejudices and stereotypes attributed to Europe by modern Russian intellectuals.

For centuries the image of Europe dominated in self-identification of Russia and Russians. Some Russians or Westernizers associated the future of Russia with Europe, others or Slavophiles proposed an own path of development for Russia. The both can not imagine themselves absolutely independent from Europe. Nowadays Russian intellectuals still construct Russian identity or ideology in comparison with so-called "European values".

The paper examines new reflection of the ideas and images attributed to Europe. It is a case study of the Forum's materials of the popular internet-project InoSmi.ru (www.inosmi.ru). This Internet project specializes on translation into Russian of the most striking and notable materials of foreign mass media. This site creates possibility for Russian audience to read foreign (mainly Western) mass media in Russian, and get acquainted with their main ideas and agendas.

Redactors and translators look through about 600 printed and electronic mass media per day, mostly from 28 European countries (Germany - 82, the United Kingdom - 32, France - 32, Spain - 31, Poland - 30 etc). Considerable proportion of translated materials is about Russia's politics, Russian culture, images etc. Each article provokes discussion (more or less intensive) among the Forum participants. During discussion, they not only share impressions, but create, reproduce and render images of the West, Europe, New/Old Europe, real Europe, "true Europeans values" or "real aims of Europe" etc.

Thus, the forum can be represented in a sense of inverse reflection of Europeans' perceptions about themselves, about Europe culture and values, about indication who belongs to the Europe culture and who is alien to it. It is a peculiar place of the Russian discourse about Europe. The different images of We and Other - we as a part of Europe, we as an adversarial one - are crystallizing here. The two incompatible representations of European Others (as a pattern for imitation or as enemy, which aimed to deconstruct Russian identity) confront here.

Qualitative and quantitative content-analyses of the Forum participants' messages allow to specify: dynamics of attention of mass media to different topics; main features attributing to the image of Europe and different attitudes to Europe; understanding and appraisal of the European values; changes of ideas about Europe and European countries.

Panel W064
The idea and the image of Europe in the world