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Representations of Gender in the Online Public Sphere

Student: Elizaveta Vasilenko

Supervisor: Polina Kolozaridi

Faculty: Faculty of Social Sciences

Educational Programme: Sociology (Bachelor)

Year of Graduation: 2016

Nowadays Russia is experiencing the return towards the gender roles defined as patriarchal. Furthermore, some researchers argue that power in Russia is legitimated through the discursive construction of Russian gender and sexual identities as opposite to Western ones. This way, public discourses promulgate identities contradistinguishing patriarchal values as authentic to “soulless” Western ones. We suppose this dichotomy primarily mutilates the representation of feminist purposes in consciousness of Russians. Moreover, at the present time we observe the intensification of antifeminist movement which stigmatize feminists as social group and share the biases about feminism as ideology. It is important to notice that antifeminist identity and antifeminist discourse have not been examined thoroughly yet. The purpose of our study was to make a contribution in the issue of antifeminist discourse construction. The first chapter gives an overview to the existed works. We describe the theoretical framework narrating the way feminist and gender identities are studied. Further, we define antifeminism, discursive practices and online-communication as the key concepts of our study. The second chapter characterizes the methodology and method validation. We employ critical discourse-analysis of Norman Fairclough as qualitative online-method. The third chapter contains the results of the study. We investigate the content of antifeminist web-sites and 40 discussions in the social network “VKontakte” and reveal the range of antifeminist discursive practices and representations of feminism which ultimately participate in the antifeminist discourse construction. Thus, we explore the prejudices about feminism and its construction. Finally, we discuss the potential of research in the field of antifeminist discourse and identity.

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