Emotionalization of Protest: A Case of Russia

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 11:05
Location: Hörsaal 18 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Ekaterina LYTKINA, National Research University Higher School of Economics Laboratory for Comparative Social Research, Russia
Emotionalization can be considered a key factor, though largely neglected, to understanding the protest movement in Russia in December 2011-summer 2013. The movement was initially caused by the falsification evidence of the election procedures published online after the State Duma elections in December 2011 (Oates 2013). It was emotions that can be seen as a basis of in terms of Gofman „celebrative social occasions“. It can be claimed that such emotions as laughter and excitement contributed to high involvement of youth and creative class representatives (Florida 2002) in the protest movement. Protest activities could be characterized by elements of carnival culture after Bakhtin which could be seen at posters, chants, clothing, facial expressions, as well blogging following the protest demonstrations. One of success evidence of the movement was the rise of election observers’ movement in Russia which is influential till now. However, emotionalization contributed not only to the success, but also to the decline of the protest movement: the key goals of the protest movement were mostly not reached, within the year and a half institutional context changed a lot. These factors, on the one hand, caused disappointment and pessimism, on the other, increased the feeling of powerlessness. The protest movements became considerably fewer in number and lost their carnivalistic character, whereas the emotional displays became less visible.

In the analysis, I will concentrate on different kinds of emotions, their transformation within the structuring social context of the protest activities. I will take into account the institutional context, public spaces, public discourses, and other factors framing the protest movement and its activities.