In May, we host Nuppu Pelevina, Oksana Domina, and Salla-Maaria Laaksonen from the University of Helsinki, who will present their research “Instagram as an affective battlefield – Ukrainian inspirational influencers as strategic narrators” on Ukrainian social media influencers and their roles during the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian war. Using on social media data gathered from influencers’ Instagram profiles and online questionnaire sent to prominent Ukrainian social media influencers, the research reveals how the war affected the influencers’ practices and how they participated in communicating about the war.

The Online talk will be held in Zoom on May 14 from 12:00 to 13:30 (Helsinki time). If you wish to participate and receive emails with updates about the future online talks, please leave your contact information here by May, 13 at noon: registration form. If you have already subscribed to the Online talks mailing list, you don’t need to register again: you will receive further information via email.

About the research: The research explores the different roles Ukrainian social media influencers have adopted during the Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine starting in February 2022. Drawing from social media influencers politization scholarship, the international relations’ conceptualization of strategic narratives and the theories of affectivity in the public sphere, Pelevina, Domina, and Laaksonen show how influencers navigate between commercial, political and lifestyle content in the communication environment changed by the war. They function as information disseminators by spreading information and amplifying Ukrainian strategic narratives, as social activists by calling their followers to participate by donating, and as inspirational influencers promoting Ukrainian culture and nationalistic narratives of history. Influencers bring the horrors and the exceptionality of the war to their followers while also showing and living its everydayness.

Speakers’ bio:

Nuppu Pelevina (M.Sc.) is a doctoral researcher at the University of Helsinki, the Faculty of Social Sciences, and a university teacher at the University of Vaasa, School of Marketing and Communication. In her doctoral dissertation, she studies the changing dynamics of global political communication. Drawing from International Relations scholarship and communications studies, she examines social media influencers’ roles during the Russian war in Ukraine.

Oksana Domina (PhD.) is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Helsinki (Finland), assistant professor at the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv (Ukraine), Executive Director of the NGO «Ukrainian Union of Marketing Experts». Research interests encompass areas such as modern stage of marketing in Ukraine, marketing development models, and war marketing.

Salla-Maaria Laaksonen (D.Soc.Sc., Docent) is a senior researcher at the Centre for Consumer Society Research, University of Helsinki. Her research areas are technology, organizations, and new media, including social evaluation of organizations in the hybrid media system, the organization of online social movements, and the use of data and algorithms in organizations. She is also an expert in digital and computational research methods.

Moderator: Dr Olga Dovbysh (University of Helsinki)

Online talk on Russian Media is a collaborative initiative between Russian Media Lab Network, University of Helsinki, and Tampere Research Center for Russian and Chinese Media.

Photo by Collabstr on Unsplash

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