Browsing by Subject "media and Communication"

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  • Pierzyńska, Justyna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    This thesis investigates the creation of geopolitical knowledge in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). In particular, it focuses on the discourses of international brotherhood and friendship and the emergence of often unexpected ideas of ”geopolitical closeness” between nations in this region. The dissertation zooms in on ways in which the Caucasus region is incorporated into Polish and Serbian readings of both countries’ geopolitical position, historical memory and their self-understanding as actors in the world of states. The five articles comprising the thesis discuss the Polish-Georgian, Serbian-Armenian, Serbian-Ossetian and Serbian-Abkhazian ”friendships”, tracing their rationales and ideational components. Special attention is paid to the role of a third actor – Russia and the Russians – in relation to which the analysed brotherhoods take on clear political vectors (pro- and anti-Russian). Critical geopolitics, a sub-discipline of political geography interested in the operations of geopolitical knowledge and power on various levels in contemporary societies, combined with the sociology of knowledge perspectives on discourse studies are two main theoretical lenses that inform this thesis. Additionally, in individual articles concepts from other strands of discourse studies, memory studies, history are utilized. I apply these perspectives to the problem of brotherhood discourses connecting Poles and Serbs with selected Caucasian nations in order to contribute to discourse-oriented research of geopolitics in Central and Eastern Europe. The articles of this thesis argue for a deeper engagement with geopolitical imaginations formed at the intersection of the most mundane levels of audience interventions (e.g. user-generated content) and expert commentariat active in the media realm. Another argument advanced in this thesis is the usefulness of online comments as a source for critical geopolitical analyses, especially those interested in the actual formation of knowledge claims within geopolitical narratives. Although online comments have nowadays been ”forgotten” in favour of social media analyses, they represent one of the clearest sources for understanding the actual unfolding of geopolitical arguments in real time. Central to this dissertation is the attention given to analogy as tool of knowledge formation. My analysis suggests that the power of historical and geographical analogies in geopolitical discourses is key to forming ideas on international brotherhood, friendship and connections. Re-discovering the potential of analogies on various levels of geopolitical agency helps understand the power of not only intellectual, but also emotional attachments between nations that appear ”exotic” on first examination. Finally, the thesis points to the need to shift the research focus from discursive operations of ”othering” and enmity, which have formed the core of discourse research interested in nation- and geopolitics-related issues in CEE, to ”brothering” and friendship, which has so far been neglected. By doing this, I hope to open a discussion about the role that the ideas of brotherhood between nations have in shaping people’s ideas on geopolitics in general, challenging or accepting official foreign policy narratives, creating knowledge about other nations and positioning oneself towards them.