Seminar on Blogging in the Russian Language at Uppsala

This seminar will initiate a research project on blogging in the Russian-language internet (Runet) in the context of the development of freedom of expression. Blogging in Runet builds upon cultural, religious and literary traditions of writing diaries, self-staging and carving out niches of free speech in the state-controlled narrative environment. Blogging in Runet reflects both global tendencies of ‘digital storytelling’, and culturally specific features of ‘domesticating’ the internet in Russia. The intention of the project is to frame blogging as a rhetorical and cultural practice broadly defined, which produces and tests concepts and ideas. Keeping this in mind, the seminar will discuss the ambiguous impact of the digital communicative environment on the public sphere: on the one hand, it gives voice to the voiceless and fosters non-conformism; on the other hand, it gives ample possibilities for those in power to insidiously manipulate the public opinion in many ways, ranging from the deployment of the army of paid commentators to outsourcing of the state propaganda to private bloggers.