Canceling Russia: Implications for Cultural Diplomacy

263
DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2023-67-4-123-131
EDN: OCPKQN
U. Artamonova, artamonova.u@imemo.ru
Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO RAN), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation.
Moscow State Institute of International Relations, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russian Federation (MGIMO University), 76, Vernadskogo Prosp., Moscow, 119454, Russian Federation;
The Diplomatic Academy, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russian Federation, 53/2, build. 1, Ostozhenka Str., Moscow, 119021, Russian Federation.

Received 22.11.2022. Revised 12.12.2022. Accepted 30.12.2022.

Acknowledgements. The article was prepared as part of the project «Opportunities and limitations for cultural diplomacy in the age of “cancel culture”» supported by the grant from the MGIMO university for conducting scientific works by young researchers under tenure of Doctors of Sciences or Candidates of Sciences CMU‑12 “Cluster Studies”.


Abstract. After February 24th, 2022, the Western society, mainly the U.S. and European countries, demonstrated a general trend that can be considered “canceling” Russia in response to its special military operation in Ukraine (western companies leaving Russia, athletes under Russian flag being excluded from international sportive events, Netflix suspending its services to Russian clients, etc.). Among other examples, “canceling” Russian culture in terms of high culture (classical music, literature, theatre, ballet, art exhibitions) presents a special case. This article examines “canceling” Russian culture in relation to cultural diplomacy in the framework of wider political confrontation between the U.S. and Russia, since influencing of international public opinion, among other things, through cultural diplomacy remains one the frontlines of the mentioned confrontation. First, the authors analyze the nature and the evolution of “cancel culture” per se, concluding that as a social phenomenon it has been politicized rapidly: from an instrument of stigmatizing perpetrators whose wrongdoings were bordering with actual crime (harassment, racism) “canceling” quickly became a tool to penalize any celebrity for expressing social and political views that do not agree with the mainstream agenda. The case of D. Trump being denied access to social media platforms in January 2021 in accordance with the same logic, while technically remaining the head of the state, was a turning point when “canceling” lost any chance to remain considered as an apolitical practice. However, the attempt to extend the “canceling” to the whole independent state – Russia – in 2022 over the matter of international politics (the conflict in Ukraine) was a new high which made it clear that “cancel culture” evolves into a tool of international political manipulation. In addition, the article examines critical differences in Russian and American approaches to cultural diplomacy. Russia, in terms of influencing international public opinion and promoting its positive image abroad via cultural diplomacy, relies mostly on high culture, which can become an easy target for “cancel culture”. The U. S. in its approach to cultural diplomacy have historically relied more on popular culture that allows them, for example, with the use of movies, not only to construct their own positive image for the international public opinion, but also to promote negative stereotypes about other countries and regions. Thus, cultural diplomacies of two countries are likely to produce two conflicting narratives with completely different instruments. Because of that, even partial and temporary “canceling” of Russian high culture internationally gives a competitive advantage for American cultural diplomacy, especially since the first and foremost aim of every such activity is to create an image, a view, a stereotype afresh, not to change the already existing ones. Thus, permanent interaction of state’s cultural diplomacy with the international public opinion is crucial for efficacy. Bearing in mind the current situation in international relations in general and tensions in Russian-American relations in particular, the article concludes that application of “cancel culture” in such a manner and the consequent disbalance in capabilities of Russian and American cultural diplomacies are likely to further destabilize the international situation and to increase the risk of more conflicts emerging and escalating.

Keywords: “cancel culture”, cancelling, cultural diplomacy, public diplomacy, soft power, popular culture, high culture, U.S., Russia, Ukraine


REFERENCES

1. Baranova M.V. Cancel Culture as an Innovative Legal and Cultural Phenomenon. Yuridicheskaya technika, 2021, no. 15, pp. 123-128. (In Russ.) Available at: https://publications.hse.ru/pubs/share/direct/723940426.pdf (accessed 21.11.2022).

2. Clark M.D. Drag them: A brief etymology of so-called “cancel culture”. Communication and the Public, 2020, vol. 5 (3-4), pp. 88-92. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1177/2057047320961562 

3. Subbotina M.V. Cancel Culture: a Manifestation of Social Justice or a New Way of Manipulation. Society: Sociology, Psychology, Pedagogics, 2022, no. 3, pp. 34-37. (In Russ.) Available at: https://doi.org/10.24158/spp.2022.3.5 

4. Lisitsa K.E., Turkulets V.A. “Cancel Culture” as a Form of Stigmatization. Humanities, Social-Economic and Social Sciences, 2022, no. 6, pp. 107-110. (In Russ.) Available at: https://doi.org/10.23672/l9940-2233-9740-s

5. Bylevskii P.G., Tsatskina E.P. Phenomenological Analysis the Notion “Cancellation Culture”. Vestnik of Moscow State Linguistic University. Humanities, 2022, no. 2 (857), pp. 162-169. (In Russ.) Available at: DOI: 10.52070/2542-2197_2022_2_857_162

6. Krys’ko V.G. Secrets of Psychological War (purposes, objectives, methods, forms, experiences). Minsk, Harvest, 1999. 446 p. (In Russ.)

7. Cummings M.C. Cultural Diplomacy and the United States Government: A Survey. Washington, D.C., Center for Arts and Culture, 2003. 15 p. Available at: https://www.americansforthearts.org/sites/default/files/MCCpaper.pdf (accessed 21.11.2022).

8. Cull N. Public Diplomacy: Taxonomies and Histories. The annals of the American academy of political and social science, 2008, vol. 616 (1), pp. 31-54. Available at: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0002716207311952 (accessed 21.11.2022).

9. Goff P. Cultural Diplomacy. The Routledge Handbook of Public Diplomacy. Cull N., Snow N., eds. New York, Routledge, 2020, pp. 30-37.

10. Krys’ko V.G. Social Psychology: Textbook for Undergraduate Students. Moscow, Youwrite publishing, 2014. 553 p. (In Russ.)

11. Lebedeva O. Russian public diplomacy: Historical aspects. Russian public diplomacy evolution and practice. Velikaya A.A., Simsons G., eds. Cham, Palgrave Macmillan, 2020, pp. 27-45.

12. Brown J. Arts Diplomacy: The Neglected Aspect of Cultural Diplomacy. America’s Dialogue with the World. Kiehl W.P., ed. Washington, DC, Public Diplomacy Council, George Washington University, 2006, pp. 71-91.

13. Tocqueville A.D. Democracy in America. Mansfield H. C., Winthrop D., eds. Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 2000. 722 p.

14. Gienow-Hecht J. Shame on US? Academics, Cultural Transfer, and the Cold War: A Critical Review. Diplomatic History, 2002, vol. 24, pp. 465-494.

15. Belmonte L.A. Selling the American Way. U. S. Propaganda and the Cold War. Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc., 2010. 255 p.

16. Hixson W.L. Parting the Curtain: Propaganda, Culture, and the Cold War, 1945–1961. New York, Palgrave Macmillan, 1998. 304 p.

17. Saunders R. Popular Geopolitics and Nation Branding in the Post-Soviet Realm. New York, Routledge, 2016. 278 p.

18. Tsvetkova N.A. Cultural Imperialism: International Education Policy of the U.S. during the Cold War. Saint-Petersburg, Saint-Petersburg State University Press, 2007. 195 p. (In Russ.)

19. Fattor E.M. American Empire and the Arsenal of Entertainment: Soft Power and Cultural Weaponization. London, Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. 241 p.

20. Rosenberg E. Spreading the American Dream: American Economic and Cultural Expansion, 1890–1945. New York, Hill and Wang, 1982. 264 p.

21. Artamonova U.Z. American Cinema as an Instrument of the US Public Diplomacy. Analysis & Forecasting. Journal of IMEMO, 2020, no. 2, pp. 110-122. (In Russ.) Available at: https://doi.org/10.20542/afij-2020-2-110-122 

22. Zemaityte V., Coate B., Verhoeven D. Media Trade Beyond Country Borders: Five Types of Global Cinema Distribution. SSRN Electronic Journal, 28.08.2018. DOI: 10.2139/ssrn.3228310

23. Artamonova U.Z. COVID-19 Pandemic: Challenges and Opportunities for Russian and American Public Diplomacy. USA and Canada: Ekonomika, Politika, Kultura, 2021, no. 6, pp. 89-110. (In Russ.) Available at: https://doi.org/10.31857/S268667300015221-3  

24. Walker Ch., Ludwig, J. The meaning of sharp power. How authoritarian states project influence. Foreign Affairs, 16.11.2017. Available at: https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/china/2017-11-16/meaning-sharp-power (accessed 21.11.2022).

25. Makhmud A.Kh. Sharp power. The Effort of Western Authors to Divide Soft Power n “Our” and “Theirs”. RSUH/RGGU Bulletin. “Political Science. History. International Relations” Series, 2020, no. 4, pp. 186-202. (In Russ.) Available at: https://doi.org/10.28995/2073-6339-2020-4-186-202


SOURCES

1. On Violations of the Rights of Russian Citizens and Fellow Citizens in Foreign Countries. Report of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Moscow, 2022. (In Russ.) Available at: https://mid.ru/ru/foreign_policy/humanitarian_cooperation/1815559/?lang=en (accessed 21.11.2022).

2. Bavarian State Opera Stops Cooperation with Anna Netbebko. VGTRK, 01.03.2022. (In Russ.) Available at: https://smotrim.ru/article/2683533 (accessed 21.11.2022).

3. Deutsche Opera am Rhein Canceled the Premiere Directed by Dmitry Bertman. VGTRK, 03.03.2022. (In Russ.) Available at: https://smotrim.ru/article/2684412 (accessed 21.11.2022).

4. Russian Avant-garde Revolution in the Arts Exposition Closed in Amsterdam. St. Petersburg’s Vedomosti, 05.03.2022. (In Russ.) Available at: https://spbvedomosti.ru/news/culture/v-amsterdame-zakryli-vystavku-russkiy-avangard-revolyutsiya-v-iskusstve/ (accessed 21.11.2022).

5. The Premier of “Boris Godunov” Opera Canceled in Poland. Vesti, 03.03.2022. (In Russ.) Available at: https://www.vesti.ru/article/2684472 (accessed 21.11.2022). 


For citation:
Artamonova U., Rustamova L. Canceling Russia: Implications for Cultural Diplomacy. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2023, vol. 67, no. 4, pp. 123-131. https://doi.org/10.20542/0131-2227-2023-67-4-123-131 EDN: OCPKQN



Comments (0)

No comments

Add comment







Indexed

 

 

 

 

Dear authors! Please note that in the VAK List of peer-reviewed scientific journals, in which the main scientific results of dissertations for the degree of candidate and doctor of sciences should be published for the “MEMO Journal” the following specialties are recorded:
economic sciences:
5.2.5. World Economy.
5.2.1. Economic Theory
5.2.3. Regional and Branch Economics
political sciences:
5.5.4. International Relations
5.5.1. History and Theory of Politics
5.5.2. Political Institutions, Processes, Technologies

 

Current Issue
2024, vol. 68, No. 7
Topical Themes of the Issue:
  • The Supporting Structure of Global Security
  • Institutional Features of the Fourth Energy Transition
  • The Evolution of Modern German Christian Democracy
  • The Monarchies of the Persian Gulf and Central Asia
Submit an Article
INVITATION FOR PUBLICATION
The Editorial Board invites authors to write analytical articles on the following topics:
  • changes in the processes of globalization in modern conditions
  • formation of the new world order
  • shifts in civilization at the stage of transition to a digital society

The editors are also interested in publishing synthesis articles / scientific reviews revealing the main trends in the development of certain regions of the world - Latin America, Africa, South Asia, etc.