Discursive self-representations in Russian-language internet forums: a case of Russian migrants in the UK
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The thesis analyses the discursive construction of migrants’ identities through their native language communications, using Russian-speaking migration in the UK as the case study. Material from internet forums these migrants were engaged in the years 2002-2005 forms the basis of this research. The project is concerned with the question of how Russian-speaking migrants, faced with the process of accustoming themselves to a new place of residence (UK), re-negotiate the Self, their homeland (in both real geographical terms and metaphorically through their cultural affiliations) and the Other. This study draws on theories from a range of research perspectives including hermeneutics, discourse analysis, cultural studies, and ethnography. The theoretical framework developed in this thesis combines Foucault’s analysis of discourse with Lotman’s model of dialogue between cultures. The thesis also develops sampling techniques for virtual data. By examining how the dichotomy Russia vs. Europe/the West is imagined in the researched data, this study argues that the concept of Europeanism obtains positive associations, while the concept of the West retains its ambiguity for Russian-speaking migrants. The thesis identifies Europeanism as a discursive object of knowledge and examines its categorizations. The study identifies kul`tura and tsivilizatsia as grids of specifications of Europeanism, and investigates Self/Other dialectics attached to the object of knowledge. Finally, the thesis analyses the dynamics of cultural appropriation under influences of the host context, and elaborates on semiotic “translation” of new phenomena.