Navigating Conflicts through the Media: The Sceptical and Self-Responsible Repertoires of Baltic Russian-Speakers

Triin Vihalemm, Jānis Juzefovičs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This article contributes to the scholarly discussions about the self-responsibilization, defined as a configuration of understandings and action strategies oriented to compensate the (perceived) dysfunctionality of the media system, of audience members in East European societies. The authors argue that audience members’ sceptical and self-reliant stance towards political news, which were planted in Soviet times, continue today in the context of mediated geopolitical conflicts. Based on a mixed methods study of Baltic Russian-speaking audiences’ behaviour in the context of the Russia–Ukraine conflict, the authors explore audience members’ media repertoires aimed to “fish out” reliable information from the political news by searching for unspoken clues or identifying ideologically biased messages. The authors introduce six political news repertoires based on the varied degrees of plurality of information channels and conditional trust. Then, they characterize audience groups exercising these repertoires and explain how audience members rationalize the chosen repertoires as a part of their agency in the context of geopolitical turbulence. They suggest that media audiences’ self-responsibilization is a worthwhile object for further study and call for a shift in East European media research away from a structuralist approach and towards an agency-centred one.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages23
JournalEast European Politics and Societies
Volume20
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords*

  • Baltic Russian-speakers
  • media repertoires
  • news trust
  • news use
  • political news
  • Ukraine crisis

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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