Doctoral Student Romashko Tatiana

43050 €

Development of Contemporary Russian Cultural Policy: from Liberal Decentralization towards Conservative Hegemony (2007–2019)

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My research examines the political reasons for a conservative turn in Russian cultural policy development. It identifies two phases: a post-Soviet period that was influenced by EU cultural policy and the post-2012 period of Kremlin’s conservative approach. The conservative approach is a part of a broader political strategy aimed at establishing Russian national unity based on essentialist notions of Russian culture and tradition. I explain this shift through an analysis of the changing political, institutional and legislative context, which is understood as an ensemble of power relations and discourses. The basis of my PhD thesis is the claim that cultural policy is framed by a conflict between a logic of sovereignty (i.e. the people, a supreme leader) and logic of governance (i.e. the population, the management of human rights). In the Russian case, these logics coexist with the sovereign becoming dominant after the empowerment of presidential apparatus and reduction of civil rights. To analyse the phenomenon, I use the Foucauldian perspective on ‘governmentality’ that stresses cultural pluralism and Laclau and Mouffe’s hegemonic approach that emphasises political contingency and discursive nature of ‘subject positions.’ Combining these frameworks, I theorise the EU-Russian relations as governmentality versus sovereignty. Therefore, I propose that cultural policy in Russia is formed by a hegemonic relation of domination and antagonism.