Head of the Organising Committee
Sanna Turoma
sanna.turoma [at] helsinki.fi

Conference Coordinator
Kaarina Aitamurto
kaarina.aitamurto [at] helsinki.fi

Conference Secretary
Maarit Elo-Valente
maarit.elo-valente [at] helsinki.fi

Conference Intern
Miikka Piiroinen
miikka.piiroinen [at] helsinki.fi

Conference e-mail:
fcree-aleksconf [at] helsinki.fi

The Aleksanteri Institute

Unioninkatu 33 (P.O. Box 42)
00014 University of Helsinki
phone +358-(0)50-3565 802

aleksanteri [at] helsinki.fi


Past Aleksanteri Conferences

Anastasia Denisova (CAMRI (Communication & Media Research Institute), University of Westminster, UK)

Internet Memes as the Means of Carnivalesque Resistance in Contemporary Russia

This research is focused on the recently emerged civic protest in Russian social interactive media. The study is particularly interested in the highly creative way the online community discusses political issues. Resistance communication in social networks employs Internet memes (Dawkins, 1976) - artful images, texts, slogans, videos that go viral, entertain and spread the political message at the same time. Satirical by nature, these texts create an alternative political discourse and are studied from the grounds of Mikhail Bakhtin's (1984) theory of the carnival. Carnival is a form of dissent, a legal activity that allows for the promotion of alternative political discussion, multiplicity of styles, and an intentional polyphony. Carnival combines elements of art and political texts. This form of dissent activism characterizes the changes that are taking place in politics and culture of Russia in the 2010s - resistance publics have to employ creative forms of communication in order to avoid censorship and have their voice heard. In the 2010s Russian government has imposed a number of highly restrictive laws on the freedom of speech and assembly including those on censoring the traditional and online media; almost prohibiting criticism of the government and implementing controlling devices on social networks. In this media ecology, digital carnival and memes are becoming an essential part of the remaining resistance communication. Memes have become a new coded language of dissent communication in the Russian Internet. Memes are studied from two sides: as the product and at the same time as the ""glue"" that helps to build social networks and affinity spaces with a strong sense of community and solidarity among its members. In addition to Bakhtin's work, theories on tactical media and alternative political activism, emotional storytelling and participatory culture are used to analyse the structure and function of online memes in the current Russian political resistance online.