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Victor Khroul, ICA Conference, Seattle, 26 May 2014 Communicating Christian "Good Life" Model in a Secular Public Sphere: a Case of Russia.

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Presentation on theme: "Victor Khroul, ICA Conference, Seattle, 26 May 2014 Communicating Christian "Good Life" Model in a Secular Public Sphere: a Case of Russia."— Presentation transcript:

1 Victor Khroul, ICA Conference, Seattle, 26 May 2014 Communicating Christian "Good Life" Model in a Secular Public Sphere: a Case of Russia

2 Christian model of "good life" well-articulated on dogmatic level as a “meta- normative” model (Bible, Cathechisms etc); available and can be transmitted, discussed, accepted or rejected in the process of mass communication, but not known well, corrupted and misunderstood in the public opinion and social practises of Russians (Levada Center, ) because of content? media (channels)? audience?

3 Painted eggs73 Bought paschal cakes50 Baked paschal cakes24 Visited relatives/friends24 Visited cemetaries23 Received guests22 Went to the Church to bless cakes21 Cooked paschal food11 Made gifts to relatives/friends9 Attended Easter liturgy6 Other2 Did not celebrated Easter9 Have you celebrated Easter and if so, what did you do during Easter time? Source: Levada Center, April 2014

4 Did you observe Lent? No70 Partly25 Fully3 No answer2 Source: Levada Center, April 2014

5 Do you agree that abortion is a legal killing? definitely yes10 rather yes18 rather no35 definitely no16 Difficult to answer20 Source: Levada Center, November 2013

6 Content? Channels? Audience? 1. Articulation - lack of production. Moral monitoring of social life from a religious perspective is minimal.. 2. Communication - lack of channels to translate, so the voices of Christian leaders are not heard in Russian public sphere. The agenda-setting process in media is not value-oriented. Stereotyped coverage of religious life in Russian secular media leads to the marginalization of Christian model of "good life". 3. Interpretation - lack of understanding. The translation not only words but also concepts and normative models from ecclesial language into secular is still problematic in Russia. Semiotic "conflict of formats" leads to conflicts in public sphere.

7 Pluralism – dialogue - consensus The highest level for aggregate judgment on what is good and what is bad (in particular, what is good life and what is bad life) is not the society of the entire country, but a united value-homogeneous community, and Christian communities are on this level. On societal level axiological consensus understood as agreement on basic values with respect to differences. Consensus is a result of interaction, dialogical processing of different opinions, positions, attitudes and beliefs. (Dryzek, Niemeyer 2006)

8 Russian context Public sphere (in 'embryo' stage, multi-normative, secular) Audience (low level of media literacy and religious practice) Journalists (servile and obedient to power, ignorant to ethics and social accountability) Media system (dependent on power and business, monopolized and non-transparent) Power (controlling mainstream media)

9 The Public Sphere ‘ the sphere [where] private people come together as a public [ … ] to engage them in a debate over the general rules of governing relations in the basically privatized but publicly relevant sphere of commodity exchange and social labour. ’ Habermas, 1989: 27

10 The logical and processing sequence “pluralism - dialogue - consensus” in contemporary Russian context has problematic fields located in the dialogue area. Some of our observations of recent years, based on interviews with journalists and data analysis, lead to the conclusions of: 1) narrowing the debate on the Christian model of ‘good life’ in mainstream media 2) reducing the possibility for journalists to articulate the Christian model of ‘good life’ (for example, some journalists fired for expressing their anti-homosexual views) 3) removing of the dialogue on values and ‘good life’ into uncensored and free area of Internet resources, mostly - to blogs or forums of similar value orientations users.

11 Press freedom according to journalists Poland % Russia % Sweden % Decreased26,246,823,8 Stays the same33,831,643,8 Increased31,217,210,2 Don´t know8,84,422,2 Source: Anikina, Dobek-Ostrowska, Nygren, 2013

12 Christian concerns Contemporary media: tend to legitimize or impose distorted models of personal, family or social life; are subjecting humanity to agendas dictated by the dominant interests of the day; used for ideological purposes or for the aggressive advertising of consumer products; present and support models of development which serve to increase rather than reduce the technological divide between rich and poor countries.

13 Journalists’ concerns Agenda setting – shifted up from journalists to other media persons (top-managers) Social mission – unclear and reduced to “infortainment” Responsibility – ignored and substituted by obedience to media owners and top-managers

14 Quality of journalism according to journalists Poland % Russia % Sweden % Decreased61,847,638,8 Stays the same18,630,626,8 Increased10,816,819,4 Don´t know8,8515 Source: Anikina, Dobek-Ostrowska, Nygren, 2013

15 The central rurpose of being a journalist is to try to tell people the truth about important things. Nick Davies, the author of bestselling Flat Earth News Public lecture at Coventry University. sovereign

16 Towards a normative model …the ethical emptiness of mainstream economics and its models of rationality …the lack of models of normative debate (Nick Couldry) There is a time to rediscover the principles of the values dialogue optimization (and the check-list for the evaluation of the condition for dialogue). The proposed normative model presume certain expectations from the subjects of dialogue (actors) and journalists (media professionals) at all three stages (pluralism - dialogue - consensus).

17 Pluralism Subjects of dialogue (actors): try to ensure values transparency, availability of texts representing their normative models; seek correct articulation of their values, use adequate symbolic systems, language and cultural codes; Journalists (media professionals): try to present complete spectrum of values and normative models (with respect to minorities); optimize channels and information flows.

18 Dialogue Subjects of dialogue (actors): tolerate and respect to other value systems and normative models they are not agree with; use the framework of common cultural code; commit themselves to participate in the dialogue, send their experts to be active in the public sphere. Journalists (media professionals): organize and support the search for new subjects of the dialogue, the presentation of new models in mass communication space, mediate, moderate, create forums for discussions; expand - quantitatively and qualitatively – the space for dialogue in various forms of communication.

19 Consensus Subjects of dialogue (actors): are seeking the common good ; are optimizing the "preaching", the presentation of the religious values from the perspective of consensus. Journalists (media professionals): consider consensus to be one of the most important goals of journalism ; are peacemakers during conflicts and tensions; develop professional solidarity.

20 ‘I want my pen [keyboard, camera] to became a gun...’

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22 Thank you for attention!


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