Digital humor against essentialization: Strategies of Baltic Russian-speaking social media users

Jānis Juzefovičs, Triin Vihalemm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


This paper asks what happens to the civic identity of people who have hybrid, transnational identities during times of geo-political tensions when the interests of individuals' historical/symbolic homeland clash with those of individuals' country of current residence. We focus our inquiry on the digital spaces where much of identity work and exercise of citizenship takes place today. Inspired by the concepts of “digital acts of citizenship” (Isin & Ruppert, 2015) and “affective publics” (Papacharissi, 2015), we report the results of a case study that explores the performative, playful forms of digital citizenship enacted by members of the Russian-speaking audiences in the ex-Soviet, Baltic countries of Estonia and Latvia. Against the backdrop of the on-going crisis in Ukraine, members of this group tend to use these forms of digital citizenship to resist the emotionally charged pre-election discourse of essentialization and securitization, and to de-politicize complex, painful issues of geo-politics and nation-building. The strategies utilized by them reveal that transnational audiences actively employ digital devices in order to maintain their hybrid identity, and civic autonomy and dignity and to “make peace” during times of geo-political conflict.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102204
JournalPolitical Geography
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Baltics
  • Citizenship
  • Geo-politics
  • Humor
  • Political advertising
  • Russian-speaking population
  • Social media

Field of Science*

  • 5.8 Media and Communication

Publication Type*

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database


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