Presents in panel 7A

Digital Information Inequality in the Modern "Smart City"

Digital economy in Russia is associated with a significant improvement in the quality of life in all spheres. The concept of "smart city" involves the integration of information and communication technologies for the management of city property (schools, transport, catering facilities, libraries, hospitals, power plants, water supply, waste disposal and much more) . The final stage in the development of this concept will be the total digitalization of cities, when it will be impossible to solve everyday problems without using the Internet. However, this idea of a “smart city” should be supported by representatives of different social groups of citizens.

To do this, developers need to know what the urban community is, what are the needs of different social groups of citizens and businesses, their interests, level of education, age structure, and so on. Such knowledge will improve the dissemination strategy of the "smart city" initiatives, functions and objectives of this policy. Citizens should be interested and involved in its development and implementation.

The development of professional knowledge in the field of IT contributes to the intensification of many types of labor, which themselves become producers of an intangible product: ideas, information, status, relationships, require that employees have special competencies, skills, a high level of competitiveness, psychological and physical training. To meet these requirements, modern labor resources should have high-quality social and human capital. The part of the workforce that cannot meet the necessary requirements of professionalization and does not have the required qualities will be out of the innovative environment of the labor market, which often does not even depend on the level of education. The lack of access to digital information and the ability to possess it for the implementation of more prestigious activities in a market economy becomes a new factor of social inequality and growth of social stratification. Considering the whole complex of factors of the economic and social context of modern Russia, it can be assumed that the level of digital inequality in the future will increase, and social differentiation will become more complex.

Presents in panel 3F

Digital Technologies and Change of Work-Life Balance of St. Petersburg Population

Technological development leads to radical changes in the labor market, causes the emergence of new professions and types of employment, as well as major changes in traditional employment.
The most radical consequence of the development of digital technologies is the increased flexibility of employment. Technological development, on the one hand, creates a material basis for such flexibility, since the use of new means of communication allows to use almost any point of space as a workplace. On the other hand, the flexibility of employment (caused by technological progress) imposes additional requirements on employees. In post-Soviet Russia, these demands are amplified by changes in economic conditions, market reforms aimed at the development of various forms of economic activity. The development of globalization, the inclusion of Russia in the international division of labor worked in the same direction. At the level of the population’s everyday life this increased flexibility leads to a blurring of the boundaries of working time and the workplace, which raises the question of the work-life balance in a new way.

The analysis of work-life balance changes related to new technologies is carried out on the materials of in-depth semi-structured interviews conducted in St. Petersburg families from 1993 to 2017, devoted to the adaptation of the population to radical economic reforms and subsequent transformation processes.

The analysis showed that the impact of technological innovations on work-life balance is ambiguous. On the one hand, digital technologies create opportunities for better control of this balance by the employee. On the other hand, the stringent requirements of the labour market often force the use of new technological opportunities to expand the scope of work in everyday life. The resolution of this conflict lies mainly in the area of individual competencies, in this case - competencies related to the possession of new digital technologies.

Presents in Panel 1G

Presents in panel 1C and 2E

Presents in panel 2E and 4B

How Information Systems Change the Technology of Working with Historical Data

Information systems to support historical researches become today are the main resources of the digital environment of historical science. It seems that the advantage and one of the main reasons for the prevalence of this type of resource are that such information systems change the technology of working with historical data.
The purpose of the present report is to show how the application of information systems changes the technologies of organization of historical information and work with data.

To achieve the goal the information systems created and used in the DH center of Perm University from 2003 up to nowadays were analyzed. They are devoted to researching and educational purposes of the problems of the history of the Zemstvo Government, Parliamentary history, history of provincial periodicals, newspaper, history of cartography and cartographers in the Urals, preservation and study of historical and cultural heritage, methodology, theory and practice of creation and usage of historical information systems. There are about 20 systems; most of them are currently available on the Internet (http://dh.psu.ru/projects).

The analysis of creation and application of information systems for researching of sources on the history of Zemstvo self-government, provincial newspaper periodicals, structure, socio-cultural aspects and activity of Deputy Corps and subelites of the State Duma and The State Council of pre-revolutionary Russia and other problems of parliamentary history shows the following.

Application of systems means the transition to new digital technologies of organization and structuring of historical information – database technologies of languages of deep markup of texts of XML. This organization of data, as well as database tools, allow to use for data processing technologies of search and analytical queries, to receive from arrays of information various samples and groupings of data in the content and numerical views. The received data are saved as text cases and sub hulls, transformed in quantitative values and organized in tabular forms. For their analysis and visualization, it becomes possible to apply linguistic methods and technologies, methods and technologies of mathematical-statistical modeling. Integration into information systems of special applications (e.g., for example, “Prosopography Research” tool on http://parliament.psu.ru or search applications on http://permnewspapers.ru/poisk and http://digitalhistory.ru/katalog-sistem/poisk-po-sistemam) considerably expands the possibilities of application of new digital technologies. Thus, in the study based on relevant information systems, the above-mentioned topics were used database technologies and deep markup of XML text, content analysis, cognitive mapping, network analysis and modeling, statistical modeling, computerized prosopography research, spatial visualization and analysis, and others. The detailed application of these technologies and its results are reflected in numerous publications of the authors (http://dh.psu.ru/publications).
Thus, historical research based on information systems in comparison with traditional researches objectively leads to significant changes in technologies of work with historical information. They allow more efficiently organize and treat data sources, more fully disclose their information potential, and receive more informed and new results. Changes in technology expand the possibilities of interdisciplinary use of historical information systems, not only for humanitarian research but also for natural science.

This paper is co-authored with Sergei Kornienko

Presents ib panel 4G

The Role of Online Disease Communities and Self-Management of the Disease in the Elderly People with Chronic Diseases in the Villages of the Leningrad Region

The aim of research is to study the role of communication in online communities in the daily life of elderly people with chronic diseases living in the villages of the Leningrad region.

Background
Despite the fact that access to the Internet among elderly people in Russia has been statistically increasing in recent years, there is still a gap in access to the Internet among people in large cities and towns and villages. In my paper I use researches Weinert et al (2008) where the positive role of online communities for elderly women suffering from breast cancer and living in rural areas is determined; this role can be called therapeutic. Sinding (1998) notes that virtual support from the community allows overcoming the disease and has a positive effect on the experience of a chronic disease; it is also noted in the Bandura (1993) study.

Methods
Observations and in-depth interviews with elderly people who have chronic diseases, habitants of Luzhskii district of the Leningrad region, were conducted. All my informants have a disability. Age of informants varies from 65 to 85 years.

Findings
Online communities and communication with like-minded people, getting advice
Access to the Internet and communication in the disease communities are an important opportunity to discuss his/her illness and the problems associated with experiencing the disease.
Online communities that help to overcome depression caused by lonely living and chronic diseases
Online communication can in some way replace neighbor communication and lack of communication with relatives.

Online communities and communication in the Internet, raise of self-esteem, involvement in society
The use of the Internet will raise self-esteem. Both access to new technologies and ability to use new technologies affect the raise of self-esteem, namely the understanding of involvement in the life that has a positive effect on elderly people and contributes to their integration into society.
Conclusion/recommendations

Access to the Internet as well as the use of new technologies of communication, provision of training in such communication to elderly people in rural areas contribute to appearing of a sense of social involvement and overcoming depressions associated with an awareness of his/her chronic illness, involvement in the society. Thus, online disease communities act both as communication communities and as advice communities, which allows elderly people living in rural areas to be integrated into the problems of their illness and manage their disease. Thus, the use of new technologies and communication in online communities has a great potential for the psychosocial status of elderly people with chronic diseases in rural areas and the ability to adapt to life with the disease.

Presents in panel 3B

The Impact of New Media on Social and Political Processes on the Example of Kazakhstan

Traditional media have long lost their popularity, especially among young people. New media - social platforms, messengers and traditional online media - are becoming an important player in shaping the information agenda and public opinion. Thus, the audience of Vkontakte public pages and Facebook groups is approaching the size of the audience of major news sites.

New media are turning into a powerful lever that affects political processes in society. Politicians and officials have accounts in social platforms Vkontakte, Odnoklassniki, Facebook or Instagram. Parties and organizations of different political orientation are also represented in social media.

Kazakhstan, like some other post-Soviet countries, is one of the most interesting examples of interaction between new media and society.

Now Kazakhstan is going through the process of changing generations of political elites, which is usually accompanied by increased instability and political tension. The extraordinary presidential elections in Kazakhstan will be held on June 9, 2019. Nursultan Nazarbayev resigned in March 2019.

According to 2017 data, 77 percent of the country's population uses the Internet. Therefore, the social media are becoming an active tool of the election campaign.

The purpose of our study is to try to reveal how social media affect the course of elections if at all. We propose typological classification of various forms of social and political processes representation in the new Kazakhstan media. We identified the most popular social platforms, influential bloggers, leading public pages and YouTube channels.

We found out that while the social platform Vkontakte is very popular in Russia, in Kazakhstan Odnoklassniki is more widely used, Facebook is also popular – it sets the agenda of the day. Viber and WhatsApp messengers are mainly used for interpersonal communication.

This year, social media play a big role in the elections in Kazakhstan for the first time. On May 13, it was announced that bloggers in Kazakhstan should provide all presidential candidates with equal opportunities for campaigning. If the blogger publishes information about one of the candidates, the same opportunity should be given to other candidates.

On May 9, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Telegram, as well as websites of a number of media, were inaccessible to Internet users in Kazakhstan. According to the media, access to certain sites was blocked to limit access to protest calls against the government.

Thus, in Kazakhstan we see the emergence of important media phenomena, the conceptualization of which will allow us to reveal the evolution of the interaction of new media and society. The results of the study will be available in the summer of 2019.

This paper is co-authored with Anastasia Obraztsova

Presents in panel 3A

Presents in panel 5B

The Coverage of the State National Policy in Russian Digital Media: Current State and Main Trends

According to the Russian census of 2010, there are over 190 ethnic groups at the territory of the Russian Federation speaking more than 170 languages. Those ethnic groups are spread across 85 subjects of the Russian Federation, 22 out of which are national republics, having besides Russian another official language in public use – the language of titular nations. In such multiethnic and multicultural setting, the tasks of strengthening national identity and mental unity of multiethnic nation of Russia, securing ethno-cultural diversity and pluralism, harmonizing multiethnic relations in the country are becoming particularly important.

In December 2012, abovementioned tasks were listed among priority directions in the ‘Strategy of National Policy in Russian Federation up to 2025’ (revised in December 2018). Currently, it is one of the fundamental documents in Russia outlining current state, key challenges, prospects and priorities of the Russian state policy for the next six years, also in terms of interethnic relations.

Literature review showed though that regardless of numerous publications addressing the ‘Strategy’ as a legislative document (e.g. Zorin, 2017; Zorin, & Abramov, 2018), very few so far analyze the way it is portrayed in the media, as well as how media can contribute to better implementation of its priority tasks in the society (particularly in regard to Section 4 entitled ‘Informational provision of the state national policy implementation’).
During 2018-2019, we conducted a long-scale analysis of Russian media (print, TV, radio, publications in digital media and information agencies) using quantitative and qualitative content analysis method. We looked at the number of keyword mentions in different time periods of 2018/2019, topics of publications, genres, heroes, context, linguistic means and other factors. As part of that project, we analyzed over 6800 publications in federal digital media outlets and over 9700 in regional ones, available in open access through Integrum database, with an aim to see how Russian media portray key priority tasks stipulated in the ‘Strategy’, and identify trends and prospects in this process.

Our research revealed that digital media in Russia are far more active in addressing ‘Strategy’ itself and its tasks related to interethnic relations and ethno-cultural diversity, compared to print and audiovisual media. Within digital media segment, regional media more often refer to the document, its priority directions and tasks than federal media. Among most popular topics for media coverage in both federal and regional digital media are national identity, state national policy as a general document and strategy, and harmonizing of interethnic relations (particularly important on a regional level). Publications in digital media are usually neutral in sound, quite concise, with main heroes being representatives of political authorities, local communities or cultural groupings (including ethnic associations of different kinds).

Concluding, in this presentation we will not only outline current state/trends of the state national policy coverage in Russian media but also discuss the role Russian media play in implementing main tasks of the state policy in the modern digital society today, as well as how this role is going to evolve under digitalization, mediatization and other ongoing processes.

Presents in panel 3D

Computer Game Citizens Play as the Reality of New Urbanism

Thanks to little mobile gadgets, computer games have become convenient entertainment that fills long and not very long the free time intervals that every citizen has at home after work, and more often on transport trips, while waiting in line, during moments of various breaks. Computer games, being considered in the paradigm of city leisure, open up new opportunities for researchers to understand the urban lifestyle. The goal of our work is the development of a sociological perspective of computer game experience using empirical data on leisure activity of St. Petersburg adult citizens.

The theoretical basis of the study was the sociologies of culture and consumption (R.A. Peterson's concept of omnivorousness) and rhythmanalysis by A. Lefebvre. Following Peterson's idea about the trends of omnivorousness in the cultural consumption a hypothesis about the combination of gaming leisure with the traditional activities (reading, theater & cinema visiting, art exhibitions & concerts practices) was formulated and tested. Lefebvre's rhythmanalysis allowed conceptualizing mobile leisure, spread with the development of miniature wearable gadgets.

Empirical data was collected using a telephone survey of the adult population of St. Petersburg (18+) on the RDD sample of mobile numbers (2017, N = 1000 people).

Among adults in St. Petersburg who participated in the survey, a third (300 respondents) play computer games on any of the devices (phone, tablet, game console, stationary computer), of which 251 people play more often than once a week. The average age of the players is 37.7 years. We note that gender and age disproportions are gradually eliminated: male gamers to all men - 37.3% (165 people), women - 24.0% (135 people), the group playing 20-29 years old was 35, 6%. Game applications for smartphones make gaming a ubiquitous process. At a time when the house can still be for women, and older married people, a place of care and "work," the urban everyday life allows them to "stay in the game."

The frequency of computer games among St. Petersburg adults does not block interest in traditional types of cultural consumption. This observation confirms our original assumption that computer games today are combined with a variety of cultural experiences; they are built into the rhythms of city life. Using the concepts of Lefebvre's rhythmanalysis, we discuss the isomorphism of time and space of computer games to the chronotope of everyday urban practices. In the circumstances when the mobile gadget complements any of our actions, it is hardly correct to imply the existence of opposition between "virtual reality" and "physical reality." The changing cultural and technological landscape of city life is defined by us as "new urbanism," allowing the intersection of realities.

This paper is co-authored with Olga Sergeeva

Presents in Panel 1G

Projecting the Future: Novel Technologies of Spectacle in Nul-Surtan, Kazakhstan

This article examines the use of media façades and digital projections as political devices of state spectacle in Nul-Surtan, called Astana until March 2019, in Kazakhstan. Since the construction of Astana as the dramatic new capital of Kazakhstan in the 1990s, state spectacle has been an vital tool of the ruling regime, used for communicating with its citizenry as well as constructing an image of the country internationally. With the rise of new digital media technologies in the 21st century, state spectacle has taken on a variety of new forms in Kazakhstan and worked to “put the country on the global map.” It has been used to convey newly emerging narratives of modernity, including those tied to environmental sustainability and international peace/security. Such technologies have not only provided a way to dramatically illuminate the capital, they have enabled large video projections on building facades that carry deeper messages of state ideology. As a result of these new connections between architecture, state ideology, and digital technology, novel political tactics can now be witnessed in the production of spectacle in the city.

Building on existing research demonstrating the utility of spectacular urban development to the ruling elite of Kazakhstan, this article focuses on the growing reliance on architecturally-tied digital technologies. It assesses five key sites of new media display in the cityscape of Nul-Surtan: The EXPO 2017 Nur Alem Museum-Pavilion; The 2018 Peace Wall; The Kazakhstan House of Ministries; The Office of Kazakhstan Temir Zholy; and Highvill Astana. The article further presents the distinctly-emerging new geography of media façades and digital projections in the capital city. Collectively, these sites demonstrate how state spectacle is finding innovative channels to support the government’s modernization approaches and efforts toward integration within the global economy.

The findings draw from 20 semi-structured interviews, content analysis, and field observations carried out in Kazakhstan in 2019. Through an assessment of the content of these media projections the article shows how new forms of government mediatization and spectacle in built form are factoring into the state’s contemporary political and economic logics. Overall, the research demonstrates how spectacular urban development continues to perform as an important political device in Kazakhstan—and one increasingly relying on new media technologies. It further points to the intrinsic contradictions the state faces as it increasingly uses energy-intensive media façades and digital projections to communicate its role as a sustainability-focused “City of the Future.”

This paper is co-authored with Suzanne Harris-Brandts

Presents in Panel 1G

Re-Mixing Memories, Re-Shaping Protests: Historical Internet Memes as a Means of Framing Protest Campaigns in Ukraine and Venezuela

Internet memes are important part of today’s digital culture. Defined by Shifman (2011) as digital content units sharing common characteristics of content, form and stance, memes are often discussed as online entertainment products. Yet, memes’ functionality goes far beyond entertainment: by re-mixing and re-interpreting existing cultural objects to produce new pieces of online content, meme-makers shape cultural and political identities. Under these conditions, internet memes increasingly become an effective means of political communication, being used to frame political statements in a humorous and amateurish way and embed them into viral online content.

The qualities of internet memes make them particularly effective tools of online protest campaigns. By arousing strong affective reactions, memes facilitate mobilization of supporters and contribute to protesters’ identity building by conveying a variety of social, cultural, and political meanings. These memetic affordances are especially important for non- and partially free media systems where citizens often have limited possibility to comment on pressing societal issues and employ means of participatory culture for political and cultural self-expression. Memes, however, can also lead to societal polarization by evoking emotional responses to stigmatize specific social groups and forming their negative identities. In the latter cases, memes often instrumentalize cultural objects related to historical traumas and conflicts for amplifying and contextualizing their aggressive message.

In our paper, we examine how internet memes were used during protest campaign in Ukraine in 2013-2014 and in Venezuela in 2018-2019. Our choice of case studies is based on two reasons: firstly, existing research rarely adopts comparative perspective and primarily focuses on Western democracies, whereas the role of memes in non-Western contexts remains under-investigated. By looking on Ukraine and Venezuela, we compare the use of memes in Eastern European and Latin American media systems which share a number of similarities (e.g. limitations of press freedom, the bursty rise of internet penetration and use of digital media for political self-expression). Secondly, both Ukraine and Venezuela recently experienced significant societal upheavals accompanied by the intense instrumentalization of digital culture products by pro- and anti-regime actors. Yet, how different or similar are these instrumental practices depending on the political leaning of their agents is currently an open question.

Using qualitative content analysis, we analyzed a large set of memes produced and distributed by pro- and anti-regime activists in Ukraine and Venezuela through major social media platforms (e.g. Vkontakte, Facebook and Twitter). We employed inductive coding approach to identify features of internet memes related to their a) content features: what kind of cultural objects were re-mixed to produce the meme; b) political features: what was the political message behind a specific memes; c) historical features: what kind of historical references were used to amplify the meme’s message. Our analysis indicated that despite significant differences in terms of specific cultural objects used for memes construction, the ways political and historical features were used turned to be similar (e.g. in both countries pro-regime activists were more eager to deploy references to the past traumas).

This paper is co-authored with Mykola Makhortykh

Presents in panel 4G

Artificial Intelligence, Geopolitics, and Nationalism: Putin’s Russia as a Pathway Case

Aim
This project examines Russia as a pathway case for exploring the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) in terms of geopolitical competition and national identities.

Background
AI is a booming industry that is already transforming labor, healthcare, transportation, public administration, and security on a global scale. Yet despite the vast amount of popular, scientific, and journalistic literature already written on AI, social scientists continue to pay it relatively little attention. It is further striking that none of the existing literature in any field addresses the implications of AI for social identities and national cultures, especially given the rising concerns about the ethical uses and applications of AI. The already significant social changes brought about by AI in national economies and policy-making cannot help but challenge understandings of nations and national boundaries as sovereignty increasingly depends upon access to, and control of, massive reserves of population data for training and implementing AI.
Russia sits at the intersection of AI’s international economic influences and domestic political concerns about its socio-cultural impact. Given that the development of AI is largely limited to a handful of countries located mainly in the West, its rapid expansion in global economies and in daily social usage raises alarms for those countries not positioned on its leading edge. Observers often liken the international competition in AI-development to an arms race, marked by ceaseless competition with few agreed-upon rules and the ever-present risk that sudden technological advances will upset the strategic balance. For China, the defeat of international Go champion Lee Sedol by a Western AI called AlphaGo in 2016 provided what Kai Fu Lee has called its “Sputnik moment” that spurred rapid government investment. President Vladimir Putin soon followed suit, declaring in September 2017 that AI “is not just Russia’s future, but the future of all humanity. It has colossal potential as well as unforeseen threats. Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will rule the world.”

Methods
The paper makes use of press as well as public government documents to conduct a process tracing of Russia’s launch into AI development and the shift in its framing of AI from a useful technology for providing social services (especially in medicine) to a threat to culture and sovereignty within a short timespan.

Findings
The threat posed by Russia’s lagging behind in AI is felt not just in terms of global economic competitiveness but in the ability to safeguard Russia’s cultural sovereignty. For example, in explaining to Putin the threat posed by the infiltration of daily life by Western AIs, a member of the government’s Agency for Strategic Initiatives invoked the threat to Russia’s national values as a call to arms in 2017: “We need to have national systems of AI that would work and transmit [national] values. Because today you buy a game for 100 dollars, give it to your child, it sings him songs and, in fact, forms his values. But it is connected, for example, to the corporate AI for IBM. And that formation of values takes place in English. Without question, we have to quickly create similar kinds of systems.” Putin not only agreed, but in 2019 proclaimed a massive increase in funding for state-led AI development which “without question will determine the future of the world and of Russia.”

Conclusions
Russia’s response to the emergence of AI demonstrates its rapid and disruptive effects on culture and sovereignty. These findings point to a need to revisit and update understandings of the relationship between technology and nationalism, which have so far eluded contemporary discussions of AI ethics.

Presents in panel 6C

This paper is co-authored with Alla Bolotova

Presents in panel 4C

Presents in panel 2A

Digital Humanities, GIS, and New Understandings of Soviet History

My research aims to use tools from digital humanities to produce geographic information system (GIS) digital maps to better understand forced labor in the Soviet Union. My research specifically uses the case of German prisoners of war (POWs) in the Soviet Union during and after the Second World War to analyze the role of forced labor in the development of the Soviet economy. I have scanned and digitized a book containing the locations of the 4,000 German POW camps that operated across the USSR from 1941 to 1956. My central research question has been why were the POWs held for 11 years after the end of the war? I have used GIS mapping as a way to supplement fractured Russian archival sources to argue that the Soviets initially held onto mass numbers of German POWs after the end of the war as a needed labor source for postwar reconstruction. The basic spatial plotting of the camps has revealed the economic necessity of the camps over punishment. The majority of the camps existed in the areas that saw active wartime battles and destruction. Almost immediately after liberating territories from the German forces, Soviet leaders established forced labor camps and mobilized captive Germans to rebuild what they had destroyed. I have also been able to add resource, infrastructure, and temperature data to the maps to make further analysis about the correlations between camp placement and Soviet industrial, population, and resources centers. Finally, the digital visualizations I produce will serve as the grounds for a trans-national public history project. I am working to host my maps online and will ask Russians and Germans to contribute to a curated blog in which I will link accounts of relatives to known camps. This will add a human element to an otherwise top-down project. Digital humanities tools and methods have been vital to analyzing a key period of Soviet history and can continue to do so. I hope my mapping work will inspire others to apply the same tools and methodological tools to reveal further insights about Soviet industrial and economic development.

Presents in panel 4G

This paper is co-authored with Elena Batunova

Presents in panel 5F

Media Communication Activity of Public Authorities in the Internet-Space as a Tool for Construction of the Political Culture of Russian Youth

The political culture of the youth is their understanding and knowledge about state politics, which are formed by social institutions. Notably, mass media and new media are most effective tools for shaping and influencing public opinion. The targeting of young people in order to change of develop their politic culture is necessary as they are not receptive to traditional communication and at the same time are highly interested in information they get using new media platforms. In fact, young people are interested in information about public authorities, state politics and social sphere conveyed in easy conversational or popular style. Still there is no supply for this demand as public authorities use new media platforms (e. g. websites and social networks) ineffectively and pay little or no attention to their contents. The hypothesis of the present research id that public authorities do not use new media to influence and develop political culture of young people. Consequently, the main goals of this study is to analyze current maintenance of public authorities media communications examine mistakes and give practical instructions.

As a result of the powerful impact of digital technologies on the work with information, the entire structure of media consumption is changing, new media operating in the global network come to the fore. The concept of "new media" covers not only the Internet space, but also has a significant technological and social aspect. The Internet appears as a media medium – as a technological, psychological, cultural and social basis for the functioning of society. Given this fact, it can be argued that it is the new media that underlie the mediatization of the XXI century.

The Internet has provided completely different opportunities for the entire media environment: new technologies are able to spread multimedia message around the world in a few seconds. The most active audience of new media – young people, who are most susceptible to innovation and digital technologies, spends much more time in the virtual space than in the real one. In this regard, the study of the Internet space as a means of implementation of media communication practices of various social groups and institutions are of paramount importance, given the main trends and prospects for the development of information and digital technologies in modern society. According to the VTSIOM data for January 2019, 89% of adolescents aged 14-17 and 53% of adults use social networks in Russia every day. The vast majority of adolescents (98%) noted that they use the Internet every day, among people over 18 years, 69% of respondents reported this.

As a result of the research of media communication practices of public authorities of Russia, it can be concluded that the media policy is now moving into the online space. This is especially true in the work of public authorities with such a target audience as young people.

Presents in Panel 2D

Commercializing Wearable Technologies: Comparison of Practices in Russia and Europe

Wearables - or design pieces couples with technology that can be worn on one’s body (Seymour, 2008) – comprise an emerging market niche that has been dominated by electronic corporations (see Muck et al., in press). Wrist-worn devices have become the most common type of wearable so far (Motti and Caine, 2016), but there are other captivating examples, like heating socks, smart boots capable of measuring heartbeat, a T-shirt with changing prints, and swimsuits that track the level of ultraviolet.

Few start-ups working with wearables has managed to commercialize their products (Dunne, 2015), but since many products are innovative and experimental, it is not always clear which market they should be sold on and who the potential user is (see Dehghani et al., 2018). In order to shed light on possible solutions to this problem, we have interviewed 11 experts in Russia and the European Union countries (in particular, the Netherlands and Finland) who have been involved in developments of wearables.

Based on their narratives, we analyze commercialization of wearables in Russia and Europe through the lenses of the E. Shove, M. Pantzar and M. Watson’s (2012) version of practice theory. Therefore, rather than focusing on individual qualities of a wearable or an entrepreneur, we look at a routinized type of behavior called social practice (see Reckwitz, 2002), that is, the practice of commercialization of wearable technologies. According to Shove et al. (2012: 22), a practice consists of three elements – materials, competences and meanings. For a practice to perpetuate, there should be well-established links between these elements, otherwise it either remains a proto-practice or becomes an ex-practice (ibid.: 15).

Drawing on this theoretical framework, we seek to explain the emergence, persistence and dying out of commercialization practice of wearables in chosen countries.
Despite the fact that practice theory mostly focuses on practices and their elements, it emphasizes importance of context that can shape practices (Shove et al., 2012). In this research we define the most important characteristics of the context (for instance, availability of investors, security of intellectual property rights and state support of small-scale technological entrepreneurship) and look at the differences across the chosen countries.
 

This paper is co-authored with Daria Morozova

Presents in panel 6F

Projecting the Future: Novel Technologies of Spectacle in Nul-Surtan, Kazakhstan

This article examines the use of media façades and digital projections as political devices of state spectacle in Nul-Surtan, called Astana until March 2019, in Kazakhstan. Since the construction of Astana as the dramatic new capital of Kazakhstan in the 1990s, state spectacle has been an vital tool of the ruling regime, used for communicating with its citizenry as well as constructing an image of the country internationally. With the rise of new digital media technologies in the 21st century, state spectacle has taken on a variety of new forms in Kazakhstan and worked to “put the country on the global map.” It has been used to convey newly emerging narratives of modernity, including those tied to environmental sustainability and international peace/security. Such technologies have not only provided a way to dramatically illuminate the capital, they have enabled large video projections on building facades that carry deeper messages of state ideology. As a result of these new connections between architecture, state ideology, and digital technology, novel political tactics can now be witnessed in the production of spectacle in the city.

Building on existing research demonstrating the utility of spectacular urban development to the ruling elite of Kazakhstan, this article focuses on the growing reliance on architecturally-tied digital technologies. It assesses five key sites of new media display in the cityscape of Nul-Surtan: The EXPO 2017 Nur Alem Museum-Pavilion; The 2018 Peace Wall; The Kazakhstan House of Ministries; The Office of Kazakhstan Temir Zholy; and Highvill Astana. The article further presents the distinctly-emerging new geography of media façades and digital projections in the capital city. Collectively, these sites demonstrate how state spectacle is finding innovative channels to support the government’s modernization approaches and efforts toward integration within the global economy.

The findings draw from 20 semi-structured interviews, content analysis, and field observations carried out in Kazakhstan in 2019. Through an assessment of the content of these media projections the article shows how new forms of government mediatization and spectacle in built form are factoring into the state’s contemporary political and economic logics. Overall, the research demonstrates how spectacular urban development continues to perform as an important political device in Kazakhstan—and one increasingly relying on new media technologies. It further points to the intrinsic contradictions the state faces as it increasingly uses energy-intensive media façades and digital projections to communicate its role as a sustainability-focused “City of the Future.”

This paper is co-authored with David Gogishvili

Presents in Panel 1G

Polarization and Populism in Action: A Discourse Analysis of the 2019 Czech EP Election on Social Media

There’s no question that populism’s rise to prominence in countries across the globe has coincided with the spread of social media, and that the sort of polarizing messaging that populist politicians traffic in is particularly well-suited to social media. How does this actually play out around concrete elections, however, and what are the social media tools that populist politicians use? Through a discourse analysis of Twitter and Facebook data gathered from Czech 2019 European Parliament candidates and party leaders, this paper will track and map out the topics that most polarize the electorate, where the lines of antagonism are drawn, and which actors on social media primarily drive the polarization.

The Czech Republic presents an ideal case for studying these phenomena, as the party system features both a centre and a right-wing populist party (ANO and SPD, respectively). While the leaders of both ANO and SPD have relied on a populist style throughout their political careers, their respective discursive structures create different lines of antagonism. The rhetoric that tends to emerge from ANO, the creation of celebrity businessman and now Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, divides society into the people vs. the political elite. SPD’s rhetoric, on the other hand, aligns the party with nationalist, nativist parties like Le Front National, creating a divide between the Czech people and the foreign Other. By taking data from both into account, this paper will trace how polarization arises from different points on the political spectrum and how populist actors from differing ideological backgrounds drive it.

In conclusion, the paper will present the preliminary findings regarding the most polarizing topics and actors from the social media data from Czech 2019 EP elections and sketch out a discursive map of Czech political rhetoric surrounding those elections. Besides just offering a portrait of political polarization in one country on social media, though, it will provide a valuable point of reference in the absolutely necessary and growing body of research into social media’s effects on democracy.

Presents in panel 7D

Russian Hybrid Warfare: Focusing on Its Change in Characteristics and Effects for the Former USSR

This paper aims at making clear the change in characteristics and effects of Russian hybrid warfare for the former USSR countries.

In recent years, especially after the Ukrainian Crisis, Russian hybrid warfare has been thought of as the most serious risk for each country’s stability and democracy, and Russian technological interventions have been flagged when some states have elections and so on. Especially, cyber-attacks and information wars as elements of Russian hybrid warfare are recognized as serious threats all over the world, especially after “Russia-gate,” which had a radical impact for US politics. Russian and Chinese information diplomatic tools are now called “Sharp powers,” and they are seen as the great enemy against the democratic values.

However, Russian hybrid warfare is not a new phenomenon. From the world historic points of view, hybrid warfare has been practiced from the ancient era. In addition, the Kremlin has been developed not only during the USSR era, but also since the collapse of the USSR. Russia has a grand strategy that stresses the importance of maintaining the Russian sphere of interests—in other words, the former USSR region. However, the contents or characteristics of Russian hybrid warfare seem to have changed radically after the Russia–Georgia war in 2008.
Accordingly, this paper seeks to elucidate the transitions of Russian hybrid warfare especially from 2008 to 2019 and their impacts analyzing Russian policies regarding the former USSR countries using comparative politics. This paper will compare the Russian diplomacy toward Georgia with its diplomacy toward Ukraine, including reference to other particularly intriguing cases of former USSR countries. The arguments will made by analysis of secondary sources and interviews.

The findings of this paper will include the following points: (1) Russia has been making use of hybrid warfare to keep the former USSR states or “Near Abroad” for Russia under Russian influence; (2) Russian hybrid warfare has been most effective for making and keeping “unrecognized states” in the former USSR; (3) Russian hybrid warfare became more sophisticated after the Russia–Georgia War in 2008, and it achieved great success on the Ukraine Crisis, especially annexing Crimea, and so forth.

As the conclusion, this paper stresses the importance of research about hybrid warfare and recommends that related research should be much more comprehensive and cover a longer time span. This is important for limiting the extent of damage from hybrid warfare and preventing further damage not only within the former USSR, but also all over the world.

Presents in panel 6C

Presents in panel 4A (co-authored paper with Vera Tolz and Precious Chatterje-Doody) and 5C