This book provides a multi-faceted picture of the many complex processes taking place in the field of contemporary Russian media and popular culture. Russian social and cultural life today is strongly individualised and consumers are offered innumerable alternatives; but at the same time options are limited by the new technologies of control which are a key feature of Russian capitalism. Based on extensive original research by scholars in both Russia itself and in Finland, the book discusses new developments in the media industry and assesses a wide range of social and cultural changes, many of which are related to, and to an extent generated by, the media.
The book argues that the Russian mass media industry, whilst facing the challenges of globalization, serves several purposes including making a profit, reinforcing patriotic discourse and popularizing liberalized lifestyles. Topics include changing social identities, new lifestyles, ideas of "glamour" and "professional values". Overall, the book demonstrates that the media in Russia is far from homogenous, and that, as in the West, despite new technologies of control, media audiences are being offered a new kind of pluralism which is profoundly influencing Russia's cultural, social and political landscape.
About the Author
Birgit Beumers, Stephen Hutchings, Natalia Rulyova (eds.), The Post-Soviet Russian Media: Conflicting Signals, Routledge, 2008 Price $ 160
Comments: This book on the Russian TV is largely written from a perspective of cultural studies. This is very close to the approach some authors in our book have chosen, but the book edited by Beumers et al. is methodologically more unified, while our book has more different approaches. However, the juxtaposition of two perspectives of mass media, the quantitative one, as developed by traditional mass media and communication studies, and the one of cultural studies, is valuable since it represents collisions among researchers and lecturers characteristic for almost any journalism department.
Stephen Hutchings, Natalia Rulyova, Television and Culture in Putin's Russia: Remote Control, Routledge, 2009 Price $ 160
Comments: This is a very fine book based on a substantial field research that successfully demonstrates an extent to which politics and culture are intertwined in the present-day Russia. The fact that we’ve tried to cover not only TV but print media as well is, we think, our advantage.
Nordenstreng, K., Vartanova, E., Zassoursky, Y. (eds.) Russian Media Challenge, Helsinki: Aleksanteri Institute, 2001 (2nd ed 2002) $37.00 on Amazon
Comments: This is one of the first monographs devoted to the post-Soviet mass media. The editors claim that it is only when collective of researchers deals with such complicated topic the chances are high that a result will be successful. The book is certainly successful. However, we think that it is written mostly from a perspective of an "old school" of mass media research while new perspectives, including the one of cultural studies, are left out.
Elena Vartanova, Hannu Nieminen and Minna-Mari Salminen (eds), Perspectives to the Media in Russia: Western interests and Russian Developments, University of Helsinki: Aleksanteri Series 4, 2009 Price 20 € + VAT 8%.
Comments: This book compares the approaches to the media in Russia developed by the Western and Russian researchers. The book claims that while the former is still significantly affected by the "Cold War" stereotype, the latter is able to provide a detail map of the Russian mass media industry which is drawn, mainly, on the basis of available statistics and sociological polls. Our perspective is different: we believe that there is no need any longer to oppose so drastically the Western and Russian intellectuals’ understanding of mass media. Moreover, statistics and polls are not enough to make sense of complex and often subtle changes that media both create and reflect on.
Table of Contents
Introduction - Arja Rosenholm, Kaarle Nordenstreng and Elena Trubina Part I: Mapping the Media Landscape 1. Contemporary Structure of the Russian Media Industry - Elena Vartanov and Sergei Smirnov 2. Changing Media Use in Russia - Jukka Pietiläinen, Irina Fomicheva and Ludmila Resnianskaia 3. A New Generation of Journalists - Svetlana Pasti Part II: Biopolitics of the Media 4. ‘We Must All Give Birth: That’s an Order’: The Russian Mass Media Commenting on V.V. Putin’s Address - Arja Rosenholm and Irina Savkina 5. Portrayal of Health Policy in Russian Newspapers - Marina Bondarik 6. Eastern Cowboys: Masculine Selves and Coping with Stressful Life in the Russian Edition of Men’s Health Magazine - Ilkka Pietilä 7. In Search of a ‘New (Wo)Man’: Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary Russian Self-help Literature - Suvi Salmenniemi Part III: Media as the Arbiters of Style 8. ‘Family - that’s an Opera’: Creativity and Family Representations in Russian Women’s Magazine Krest’ianka - Saara Ratilainen 9. Modern Russian Entertainment TV: ‘Live Well Now – Ask Me How’ - Natalia Mikhailova 10. Russian Glamour and Its Representations in Post-Soviet Mass Media - Maria Litovskaia and Olga Shaburova 11. Between a Good Home and a Good City: The Privatization of Residential Life in Russian Lifestyle Journalism - Elena Trubina