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Gendering the country’s image: Russian and Swedish political journalism in the times of conflict
University of Gävle, Faculty of Education and Business Studies, Department of Humanities.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7943-3076
Stockholms universitet.
2015 (English)Conference paper, Presentation (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Army marching towards the European capitals, missiles with sarcastic yellow smileys on their boards, arrows depicting the distance between Moscow and the potential targets of Russia’s “friendly” invasion – the TV news cast by the national Pyatyj channel of the Russian television (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SemPHeiamBo) raised a broad discussion both inside and outside of the Russian borders. Should this and similar messages be read as an outright threat to the West, a mockery, or as populist flirting with the Russian citizens (see Schreck 2015)? At the same time, in Sweden, the media turn to the discussion of gender mainstreaming as a “weapon” that a “feminine” country like Sweden can use for handling the conflict situations with more “masculine” countries like Saudi Arabia (http://sverigesradio.se/sida/avsnitt/522139?programid=1300).

From the perspective of gender media studies, understanding political journalism as “gender-politics” in itself (Kitzinger 1998), such messages created in the times of external conflict or confrontation can be viewed as ultimate cases of gendering in political journalism (Voronova 2014). Represented by thousands of male soldiers, Russia appears as a man – ready to penetrate and explode, come and take, enter and appropriate, while Sweden appears as a woman – educating, caring, encouraging and using manipulative power rather than force.

This paper explores Russian and Swedish political journalism constructing gendered images of the countries in the time of external conflict or confrontation. The chosen period is year 2015 that provides possibility for analyzing two different conflictual situations that are viewed as accelerators for gendering of the images of the countries involved: the war conflict in Ukraine that Russia is directly involved in, and the diplomatic conflict between Sweden and Saudi Arabia.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Russia, Sweden, gendering, political journalism, masculinization, feminization, conflict
National Category
Media Studies Gender Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-20722OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-20722DiVA: diva2:875223
ECREA Gender and Communication Symposium 2015, Media (in)visibility: Gender and sexual diversity in European popular media culture, 16-17 October 2015, Tarragona, Spain
Available from: 2015-11-30 Created: 2015-11-30 Last updated: 2016-01-12Bibliographically approved

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