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SIEF2013 11th Congress: Tartu, Estonia.
30 June - 4 July, 2013

SIEF2013: Circulation

Tartu, Estonia; 30th June - 4th July


Circulating social worlds in polymedia

Location Ülikooli 18, 227
Date and Start Time 03 July, 2013 at 10:30


Katja Valaskivi (University of Tampere) email
Johanna Sumiala (University of Helsinki) email
Anne Heimo (University of Turku) email
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Short Abstract

This interdisciplinary panel looks at the ways in which the internet and mobile-phone based platforms and devices - in other words polymedia - circulate and shape experiences of the construction of shared social worlds and (trans)national identities.

Long Abstract

The recent developments in the contemporary mediascape, to use the seminal work of Appadurai (1990) have profoundly shaped our perception and experience of the social. The Internet and mobile-phone based platforms and devices - polymedia as Mirca Madianou and Daniel Miller call it (2012) - have affected the present day communicative practices of establishing and maintaining shared social worlds. In this panel we apply the concepts of circulation and polymedia to examine the flows of mediated items, ideas, and actors travelling materially and/or immaterially from one actor, location and site to another. The panel invites theoretical, methodological and empirical papers that look into the dynamics of circulation of social worlds in the framework of polymedia. Following themes could be addressed: the construction and maintenance of (trans)national identities in and via circulation, circulation as a theoretical and methodological tool for the social and cultural analysis of polymedia. media technology and the social, migration, identities and polymedia.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.


Circulating social imaginaries: a theoretical and methodological perspective for media studies

Authors: Johanna Sumiala (University of Helsinki)  email
Katja Valaskivi (University of Tampere)  email

Short Abstract

This paper discusses circulation as a theoretical and methodological concept for media studies. We examine the role of the media in the processes of circulation of mediated actors, ideas and items. Different empirical media examples are used to illustrate the theoretical discussion.

Long Abstract

In this paper we examine circulation as a theoretical and methodological concept for media studies. The presentation is divided into two parts. i) By drawing on sociological, anthropological and media studies literature we discuss circulation as a theoretical concept in the media-saturated contemporary society (see e.g. Peterson 2005; Lee & LiPuma 2002). ii) In the empirical part of the presentation we discuss how circulation creates, maintains and shapes social imaginaries in the process of disseminating ideas, items and people in different mediated contexts. We ask: How media takes part in the circulation of different cultural practices, what kind of social and cultural relations emerge from encounters between different circulating actors, elements, organisms and institutions, and how are social imaginaries established, reinforced, negotiated or questioned in these circulating encounters? Different empirical examples including nation branding, Flotilla news event and the death of Apple CEO Steve Jobs are used to illustrate the theoretical discussion.

Political rhetorics and publicity in the digital age

Author: Anneli Baran (Estonian Literary Museum)  email

Short Abstract

My presentation is based on an event which received wide coverage in the Estonian social media. The phenomenon is interesting primarily as an example of new type of social behaviour, taking place in the internet communication.

Long Abstract

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement started drawing wider attention in Estonia in January-February 2012. News of furious speeches and demonstrations during meeting all over the world had, of course, reached us. As in other countries, Estonia also held demonstrations in protest of ACTA. Appeals to people to come out and express their opinion were made in social networks, where different communes were created. But the attributes used in demonstrations were inspired mostly by the well-known Estonian politicians' speeches. Incidentally, the case grew out of the utterances of prime minister's on topics very important for young people, namely everything internet-related. Politicians have caught on to the influence of the web and use various opportunities to broadcast their opinions and conduct political lobby work. There are also some public persons who do not restrict their unique wording habits to the blogosphere or social networks, but use it also when communicating with public. This makes one wonder why they try to wriggle out of a problem by claiming that a statement was only spontaneous reaction and there's no need to amplify it by the media. The media can turn something someone has said in the blogs, social network etc., into a news piece that can generate lively discussion. This allows us to take more and more seriously the fact that the digital age has brought us a disappearance of limits and wider public disclosure.

Süper Lig supporters in Vienna: local strategies and transnational ties of football fans abroad

Author: Nina Szogs (University of Vienna)  email

Short Abstract

The paper analyses the local strategies that fans of the Turkish football league in Vienna/Austria employ to be able to carry on supporting their club from abroad. Thereby, it pays special attention to the role of technical devices and internet related services in this transnational process.

Long Abstract

Migrants often wish to continue their favourite activities and interests despite being in a different country. The love of a football club is part of a fan's identity and does not simply stop when abroad. Therefore, the paper focuses on the impact that migration has on the identities of Süper Lig supporters in Vienna.

A Süper Lig fan living in another country can rarely attend a match at a stadium. As a consequence, the internet, smartphones and television become essential tools to facilitate their participation in the fan culture of their favourite club. Concurrently, the importance of locations like living rooms, bars and restaurants increases, and the meaning of football in everyday life changes. Supporters simultaneously miss out and gain a shared experience: missing the immediate experience and discourse in Turkey, yet sharing the experience of a victory or defeat in the local setting and discussing it internationally on the internet, fan identities become transnational.

Scrutinising the transformation of fan culture once supporters have left the place where the bonds of loyalty to a football club were initially formed, the paper seeks to draw conclusions about the way identification processes work during and after migration. Thereby, it aims to understand the consequences of increasing mobility in Europe, the ties of transnational fan cultures and the influence of new technology in this process. Drawing upon ethnographic fieldwork, the paper analyses the everyday strategies migrant football fans in Vienna use to deal with the situation of being a fan abroad.

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

Author: Mikhail Alekseevskiy (State Republican Centre of Russian Folklore)  email

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.

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.

Ironic language play on Bulgarian Facebook

Author: Cammeron Girvin (UC Berkeley)  email

Short Abstract

My paper shows how Bulgarian Facebook users ironically employ conservative or “traditional” linguistic forms in order to highlight their own “progressive” offline identity.

Long Abstract

The website Facebook serves as a platform for users to broadcast various aspects of their personal identity. In my paper, I show how Bulgarian users of the site ironically employ linguistic styles that would ordinarily mark them as "traditional" or "conservative" in an effort to show that they are "progressive" and "Westernized." For example, some users write with nonstandard orthography that mimics rural Bulgarian dialects. One Green Party activist spells her vowels to reflect the Western Bulgarian accent of her hometown rather than that of the standard language; in the same post, however, she uses English transliterated into Cyrillic to show that she is, in fact, educated and worldly. Play with Bulgarian folk language occurs particularly often when the thematic content of a user's post describes decidedly "modern" material. In one case, well-wishers congratulate a man on the announcement of his upcoming marriage to another man with sentiments in the form of proverbs traditionally used to wish health to a bride. These commenters employ linguistic forms that originally served to support the "traditional" family unit in order to express their excitement about a "non-traditional" form of marriage. Overall, such ironic Facebook posts reflect an interesting hybridity in language and form, as topics taken to be "modern" are discussed using "traditional" language. Users may see themselves as progressive and, perhaps, different from the typical Bulgarian citizen offline, but they employ linguistic forms on Facebook that are seen as being characteristic of the "folk" in order to highlight this very fact.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.