Framing Sexual Citizenship

Wednesday, 13 April 2016, 4:00pm - 5:30pm, IWM library

Sexuality and the Politics of Clothing: Cultural Production of Sexual Citizenship on Russian Makeover TV

In recent debates, it has been recognized that the notion of citizenship is already deeply sexualized and based on the heteronormative frame. The logic of cultural production of sexual and gender citizenship can be traced through beauty makeover television shows which perform important cultural and ideological work by turning non-normative (female) bodies into socially acceptable forms of embodiment. The talk offers a reading of the Russian makeover TV-show Fashion Verdict (Modnyi Prigovor) focusing on a particular episode that features a queer woman as a participant. Aired in August 2012, just as the first ‘gay propaganda’ laws had been introduced to and adopted by a number of regional parliaments, the episode clearly acts out anxieties about same-sex relationships. Using concepts and insights from cultural and citizenship studies as well as queer theory, the talk will offer some answers to the question which discourses affect the framing of sexual citizenship on Russian post-Soviet television.

Olya Kazakevich is a PhD candidate in Cultural Studies at the Siberian Federal University in Krasnoyarsk, Russia. Currently she is an Alexander Herzen Junior Visiting Fellow at the IWM.

Social Media as a Field of Political Struggle: Reception of the Attack on the Festival of Equality on Ukrainian Facebook

The experience of many post-Soviet countries shows that the lack of effective mechanisms for citizens to influence formal political processes increases the importance of spaces of public discussions where citizens can express their views and achieve a sense of participation in decision-making processes. In the modern context, these spaces have often become virtual. Thus in contemporary Ukraine, Facebook functions as a public platform for the exchange of opinions and a site of political struggle, similarly to the way LiveJournal was used in Russia in the early 2000s, and in contrast to Western countries, where social networking sites are mostly used to exchange personal information. Not only ordinary citizens are using Facebook to communicate about politics – all the prominent Ukrainian politicians maintain their Facebook pages as an important instrument of interaction with their voters. The presence of marginal and radical political groups establishes counter-public spheres within Ukrainian Facebook which compete for discursive entrance into the dominant public sphere occupied by politicians, popular bloggers and opinion-makers. The talk provides the results of the research into the reception of an attack on the LGBT Festival of Equality in Lviv by far-right radicals on March 19, 2016. Based on framing analysis of Facebook commentaries to posts on the issue made by selected political actors – such as the city’s mayor, popular bloggers, LGBT rights activists, civil rights activists, speakers of the Far Right – the talk addresses the problem of discursive resources employed in the political struggle over LGBT rights in Ukraine. It will also offer some conclusions on how these have changed after Euromaidan, and on the future possibilities for LGBT citizens in Ukraine to achieve equal sexual rights.

Maria Teteriuk is a PhD candidate in Mass Communications at National University of “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy”, Ukraine, as part of a joint PhD program with the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain. Currently she is a “Ukraine in European Dialogue” Junior Visiting Fellow at the IWM.

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