Accepted paper:

The construction of local identity through internet folklore: a case study of Galich town

Author:

Mikhail Alekseevskiy (State Republican Centre of Russian Folklore)

Paper short abstract:

The paper is devoted to visual forms of internet folklore related to Galich, a small town in the central Russia. The analysis of the material enables to recognize key features of the town's local culture and to investigate the process of construction of group identity in Internet.

Paper long abstract:

The anonymity of computer-mediated communication stimulates construction of virtual identities. Specialists on anthropology of Internet generally described the usage of virtual images in internet forums, chats, on-line role play games etc. As they demonstrated, every user has many possibilities of constructing and using different virtual identities though some of them can be far from reality. The construction of group identity in Internet is more complex and little-studied case, but contemporary internet folklore seems to be eminently suitable material for such studies.

The paper is devoted to visual forms of internet folklore distributed in internet discussion group «That's Galich, baby! (Typical Galich)» in website Vk.com, the most popular social network in Russia, a competitor of Facebook. The users of the group are young citizens of Galich, who create and distribute funny pictures and comic strips about their native town. Galich is a small provincial town in Kostroma region of Russia, which is famous for own antiquity (for the first time it was mentioned in chronicles in 1237). Historical and cultural heritage of Galich assume major significance for local intellectuals, but users of the group are creating another image of the town. The analysis of visual internet folklore about Galich enables to to determine basic dominants of its local image and to investigate the process of construction of group identity in Internet.

panel P19
Circulating social worlds in polymedia