New article shows ideological diversity in Russian popular discourses
In their new article “Popular Culture and Authoritarianism in Russia: A Study of Common Sense Through the Prism of Women’s Fiction” in the forthcoming issue of Europe-Asia Studies, Viacheslav Morozov and Elena Pavlova discuss the neo-Gramscian notion of the mass common sense and apply it to the study of popular discourses in the case of authoritarian Russia.
The authors challenge the widespread view that consistently high approval ratings for the authoritarian regime in Russia is indicative of homogenous public support. They argue that public support should not be interpreted as a one-to-one relationship between any particular ideological platform and the common sense of the masses.
By studying the ideological discourses in Russian women’s novels (as an important segment of popular culture), the article shows that women’s fiction features a variety of ideological platforms, from moderate populism to the two extremes: traditionalist anti-European discourse, on the one hand, and Eurocentric, openly oppositional rhetoric, on the other.
Therefore, while acknowledging the importance of poll data about the support for Putin’s rule, the article suggests the existence of notable ideological diversity in popular culture, pointing to the heterogeneity of Russian mass common sense. This, in turn, indicates the possibility that mass common sense could be mobilised (or, in the Gramscian parlance, hegemonised) in more than one way, i.e. also under slogans opposing the current regime.
Viacheslav Morozov & Elena Pavlova (2020) Popular Culture and Authoritarianism in Russia: A Study of Common Sense Through the Prism of Women’s Fiction, Europe-Asia Studies, DOI: 10.1080/09668136.2020.1748872