WiP: Imagining the Nation in Putin’s Russia

CRRC, ARISC and American Councils are proud to present the 6th talk of the 2020 Fall Series of the Tbilisi Works-in-Progress series, now celebrating its 10th year!

“Imagining the Nation in Putin’s Russia: Unifying Discourses, National Identity and Patriotism”

By Matthew Blackburn, Uppsala University

Date: November 18, 2020, 18:30 Tbilisi time
Venue: Given the continuing COVID19 situation, we will once again hold the Works-in-Progress session virtually. The Zoom link will be posted in WiP Facebook group on the day of the talk. Alternatively, please RSVP to georgia[at]arisc.org to get the URL.

Combining analysis of state discourses on the nation with over 120 interviews from ordinary Russians from four cities, Dr. Matthew Blackburn’s monograph examines how certain visions of the Russian nation are promoted ‘from above’ and where and how they resonate ‘from below’. Presenting the book proposal for his monograph, Dr. Blackburn will: (i) offer some background to the project and consider its significance and contribution to the wider literature on Russian politics; (ii) unpack some of the key theories and concepts behind the book. After this he will present the key components of the book chapters: (1) the appeal of pro-regime hegemonic narratives: the state’s vision, how it resonates and what are the fundamental pillars of this; (2) The challengers: counter-hegemonic discourse; (3) the narratives of ordinary people: socialisation of discourse and frames of normality; (4) The role of events and geopolitics in securing the pro-Putin core; 2012-2016 (4) 2016-2020 The wearing down of the Putin consensus? In conclusion, Dr. Blackburn will ruminate on the key next steps needed to finish the book proposal.

Matthew Blackburn is a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Russian and Eurasian Studies at Uppsala University. He completed his doctoral thesis on nationalist discourses and the imagined nation in Post-Soviet Russia at the University of Glasgow in June 2018. In October 2018, Matthew took up a two-year postdoctoral position at the Institute of Russian Studies at Uppsala University. His recent publications include ‘Mainstream Russian Nationalism and the “State-Civilization-Identity”’(2020) and ‘Political Legitimacy in Contemporary Russia’ (2020). In 2021 he will take up a two-year Ulam Visiting Researcher Fellowship at the University of Warsaw, where he will continue working on his manuscript and developing a new research group on regime legitimacy dynamics in contemporary Russia.

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Although this presentation will take place in virtual format, in observation of the spirit of the Chatham House Rule to which the series generally adheres, the talk will not be recorded and we courteously request that the other participants refrain from recording and/or distributing it as well.
The opinions expressed in WiP talks are those of the speakers alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of CRRC, ARISC or of American Councils.

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WiP is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that normally takes place at the new office of CRRC at Liziko Kavtaradze St. 1. It is co-organized by the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC), the American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS, and the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC). All of the talks are free and open to the public.