Teacher, Independent Researcher Smirnova Valeriia

124000 €

Nationalism and foreign-language education in contemporary Russian high school

Tieteellinen tutkimus / siihen pohjautuva työ | Nelivuotinen

In the current political situation in Europe, the issue of Russian nationalism has become both topical and highly sensitive. The PhD project aims at analyzing the transformations of the concept of nationalism in Russian educational discourse with a focus on foreign (primarily English) language education in 2000–2022. Foreign language teaching provides an accurate tool to gauge the nationalist trend in the society, as the field by definition embraces such concepts as culture contacts, the national and the global, the familiar and the other, and the shifts in their balance and interpretation indicate changes in national ideology. An example is the changed role assigned to English: from a tool to enter the global market, it has turned into a threat to the perceived continuity of national identity. Considering nationalism as a discourse that operates through cultural frames, I will scrutinize it through the lenses of frame analysis and critical discourse analysis to reveal its rhetoric and identify the frames used to promote the idea of Russianness with its presuppositions and exclusions. The analysis will proceed on three levels corresponding to three data sets: 1) education policy documents of the Ministry of Education, 2) language textbooks and 3) language teachers’ methodology publications. That will enable me to reveal the changes in the concept of foreign language teaching in the education policy documents (e.g., the role assigned to a foreign language and the correlation between the national and foreign cultures in the patriotic agenda) and trace the transformations of the official discourse in textbooks and teachers’ practices. The research will proceed in close collaboration and co-authoring with Dr. Nelli Piattoeva and Dr. Anna Medvedeva, Tampere University. It will contribute to the analysis of the current social and political crisis in Russia and disclose the specifics of state- and nation-building discourse in the vital social sphere of school education.