Saara Ratilainen shared her thoughts as Face of the Month in Aleksanteri News 2/2013 just before her PhD defence on women’s print media and consumer culture in Russia. Read the interview written by Niina Into (on page 2).
Today, Saara coordinates a budding new research project called Russian Media Lab at the Aleksanteri Institute. The project focuses on Russian media and freedom of expression and at the same time aims at deepening the Russian expertise of Finnish journalists.
“As a member of the research team my main interest at the moment is to examine, how popular culture, online fan communities, and different amateur-based media projects respond to the question about freedom of expression in contemporary Russia”, she explains. Can they provide models for alternative voices to be heard more broadly in society and what kind of citizenship do these spheres of culture support?”
“Consumerism and cultural identity remain central reference points also when considering the freedoms and limitations to express oneself, one’s identity and relationship to the predominant ideologies, values and cultural ideals. My study of online fan communities, for instance, shows that brand-conscious everyday consumption functions as an important background, against which Russian young internet users define themselves as participants in creative communities and users of interactive media.”
Russian Media Lab held an open seminar, Russian Media Today, as part of the UNESCO World Press Freedom Day festivities on May 2, 2016 in Helsinki.