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East Ukrainian media audiences and discussion modes

Patricia Cruz



The article “Logics of Exclusion: How Ukrainian Audiences Renegotiate Propagandistic Narratives in Times of Conflict” by Olga Pasitselska from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem was a discourse and conversational analysis of shared meanings among media audiences in Eastern Ukraine, and their interaction modes.

The context of the study was the pre-invasion Russian-Ukrainian conflict in Eastern Ukraine following the annexation of Crimea and the supported insurgency in Donetsk and Lugansk. The participants were from Dnipro, Dniprovske, and Pavlohrad. 

They formed focus groups for watching news, both Russian and Ukrainian, and having slightly guided conversations on them which were recorded. The news chosen were from TSN-Tyzhden (TSN week), a weekly Ukrainian news program from the nationwide commercial channel 1+1, and Voskresnoje Vremya (Sunday Time) from a Russian state-owned channel Perviy Kanal (First Channel). 

The agendas of the two channels were opposite: Perviy Kanal echoes the Russian state narrative while 1+1 is pro-Western and advocates for freedom from Russian influence.

The analysis focused on: “(a) the content of the constructed meanings, (b) the dynamics of agreement and disagreement during the discussion, and (c) the non-verbal cues that conveyed participants’ reactions toward the conversation’s content and dynamics” – to study the modes of discourse, and the logics of exclusion how these modes are maintained. 

It was revealed that there were three modes of interaction that were defined by communicative goals and logics that drive the selection and exclusion of each mode. The three modes were inquiry, narrative, and avoidance.

In the inquiry mode, the participants maintained an objective distance from the issue. They question, challenge, and argument as keying (as defined by Goffman 1974) the mode to that of critical inquiry. In this mode, the participants seek to establish a valid understanding of the events.

The discursive mechanism of exclusion in this mode involves the participants first establishing competence by, for example, claiming to read more news or by invoking a professional identity. Actual exclusion is performed through a demand of validation. 

All the logics may also fail. The inquiry logic is unsuitable for the expression of personal feelings and moral judgements, and it is also too challenging for disinterested participants. 

The second mode was the narrative one. In it, the participants adopt a collective identity and signal their loyalty to the ingroup. They affirm a certain worldview and impose shared norms upon others. They also become sensitized toward ideological narratives that threaten their collective identity. 

The threat to collective identity was what preceded the shift to this mode of normative discussion. Performances of moral indignation, disappointment, or even disgust often signal the shift. Invoking a sense of duty for the ingroup for example by repeated questioning or challenging imagined dissenters is also a part of the mode. 

The logic works by radicalization of discourse and the exclusion of ambiguous claims. The participants exclude such claims by applying ‘membership categorization’ (Sacks 1992) to clearly mark the boundaries of their group. In addition to ambiguous claims, claims that are promoted by the rival narrative are challenged. 

The narrative logic is maintained in face of such contrasting claims by ‘uncooperative language’. This involves repeated rhetorical questions, stoppers such as “so what?”, unelaborated exclamations (“yes!”, “no!”), and rhetorical upscaling and exaggerations. At this point, the debate becomes heated and emotional and there are multiple turn-taking violations.

When the narrative logic fails, it does so because of two reasons. First, it fails if the participants are unfamiliar with the narrative cues. Second, it fails when conflicting narratives are not accepted as basis of normative evaluation. In that case, there may be a switch to the inquiry mode when participants reject ‘simplification’, or when another narrative mode is invoked (such as virtuous poor people vs corrupt rich people), and there is a switch to the avoidance mode.

Lastly, there was the avoidance mode. In it, the participants detach themselves from the political world while seeking to maintain a sense of competence. The participants are motivated by a need to maintain sanity. The detachment differs from that in the inquiry mode, as here the logic of avoidance inhibits engagement and reasoning.

The keying in this mode is cynical or absurd. There are two variants: in the first, the participants express distrust toward the media, in the second, they signal an inability to deal with the political discussion. They conceive the conflict as ‘political’ and thus closed to their understanding and give up.

The mode works by participants constructing the realm of political information as dirty, corrupt and manipulative. In this mode, there are no ‘good guys’ and no one to feel solidarity with, and the participants adopt a ‘cynical chic’ (Eliasoph 1998) discursive position. 

The avoidance logic maintains itself by a shared political ignorance and powerlessness. The mode can be shattered by strong belief in narrative truth – switch to the narrative mode – or skepticism that dismantles equivocation, generalization, and conspiracist claims, shift to the inquiry mode. 

The study is not only interesting and topical in itself but also offers a new perspective on the deliberative potential of political discussion. Rather than simply assuming that participants have adequate expertise and dedication to democratic conversational norms, the discussion is contingent on the modes presented here.

For limitations of the study, the author notes that the focus groups may not be generalized fully to news audiences. In addition, there may yet be more modes of conversation that were not detected here.

The study  “Logics of Exclusion: How Ukrainian Audiences Renegotiate Propagandistic Narratives in Times of Conflict” by Olga Pasitselska is in Political Communication. (open access).

Picture: Unnamed Road, Ivano-Frankivs’ka oblast, Ukraine by Max Kukurudziak @maxkuk

License Unsplash.

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The benefits of practicing mindfulness and how to start

Alice Trout



In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to get caught up in the chaos of everyday life. Between work, family, and other responsibilities, we often forget to take care of ourselves. This is where mindfulness comes in. Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment, without judgment. In this article, we will explore the benefits of practicing mindfulness and how to start.

Benefits of Practicing Mindfulness

  1. Reduces stress and anxiety

Mindfulness can help to reduce stress and anxiety levels. By focusing on the present moment, you can calm your mind and reduce racing thoughts.

  1. Improves mental clarity

Practicing mindfulness can improve mental clarity and focus. It can help to clear your mind of distractions and increase productivity.

  1. Enhances self-awareness

Mindfulness can increase self-awareness and help you to understand your thoughts and emotions better. By being present in the moment, you can learn to recognize your patterns of thinking and behavior.

  1. Improves relationships

Mindfulness can help to improve relationships by increasing empathy and compassion. By being present with others, you can develop a deeper understanding of their needs and feelings.

How to Start Practicing Mindfulness

  1. Set aside time

Set aside a specific time every day to practice mindfulness. It can be as little as 5-10 minutes per day to start.

  1. Find a quiet space

Find a quiet space where you won’t be disturbed. It could be a quiet corner of your home or a quiet park.

  1. Focus on your breath

Focus on your breath and the physical sensations of breathing. Notice the rise and fall of your chest and the sensation of air moving in and out of your body.

  1. Be present

Allow yourself to be present in the moment without judgment. Let your thoughts and emotions come and go without dwelling on them.

  1. Practice regularly

Make mindfulness a regular practice. It takes time to develop the habit, but the benefits are worth it.

In conclusion, practicing mindfulness can have numerous benefits for our mental and physical well-being. It’s a simple yet powerful practice that can be incorporated into our daily lives. By setting aside a few minutes each day to practice mindfulness, we can reduce stress and anxiety, improve mental clarity, and enhance our relationships. So why not give it a try? Your mind and body will thank you for it.

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How to create a perfect morning routine for a productive day

Alice Trout



Do you ever feel like your day has gotten away from you before it even starts? One way to combat this feeling is to create a perfect morning routine. Establishing a routine can help you start your day off on the right foot, and set the tone for a productive and successful day. Here are some tips on how to create a morning routine that works for you.

Determine Your Priorities

Before you start creating a morning routine, it’s important to determine what your priorities are. What are the things that you want to accomplish in the morning? Do you want to exercise, meditate, or have a healthy breakfast? Once you have a list of your priorities, you can start creating a routine that includes them.

Wake Up at the Same Time Every Day

Waking up at the same time every day can help regulate your body’s natural sleep cycle and make it easier to fall asleep at night. Try to wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. This can help establish a consistent routine and make it easier to stick to.

Take Time for Yourself

Many people feel rushed and stressed in the morning, but taking some time for yourself can help alleviate this feeling. Whether it’s meditating, reading a book, or simply enjoying a cup of coffee, taking time for yourself can help you start your day feeling calm and centered.


Exercise is a great way to start your day, as it can help increase your energy levels and improve your mood. Whether it’s a quick jog, yoga practice, or weightlifting session, try to include some form of exercise in your morning routine.

Eat a Healthy Breakfast

Breakfast is often called the most important meal of the day, and for good reason. Eating a healthy breakfast can help fuel your body and provide the energy you need to start your day. Try to include protein, whole grains, and fruit or vegetables in your breakfast.

Plan Your Day

Taking a few minutes to plan your day can help you stay focused and productive. Make a to-do list or set priorities for the day, and review your calendar to make sure you’re prepared for any meetings or appointments.

Stick to Your Routine

Once you’ve created a morning routine that works for you, try to stick to it as much as possible. Consistency is key, and sticking to your routine can help establish healthy habits and improve your overall productivity.

In conclusion, creating a perfect morning routine can help set the tone for a productive and successful day. By determining your priorities, waking up at the same time every day, taking time for yourself, exercising, eating a healthy breakfast, planning your day, and sticking to your routine, you can create a morning routine that works for you. Remember, it’s all about finding what works best for you and your lifestyle.

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10 simple yet effective ways to reduce stress in your daily life

Alice Trout



Stress is an inevitable part of our lives, but it can have a negative impact on our mental and physical health if left unchecked. Fortunately, there are several simple yet effective ways to reduce stress in our daily lives. In this article, we will explore 10 such methods that you can easily incorporate into your routine.

Exercise regularly

Physical activity is an excellent way to relieve stress. It helps to release endorphins, which are natural mood-boosters. You don’t have to engage in high-intensity workouts to reap the benefits. Even a brisk walk or light yoga can help reduce stress levels.

Get enough sleep

Lack of sleep can cause irritability, mood swings, and increase stress levels. Make sure you get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night to feel well-rested and refreshed.

Practice deep breathing

Deep breathing techniques such as diaphragmatic breathing can help to calm your mind and body. Inhale deeply through your nose and exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat this for a few minutes to feel relaxed.

Spend time in nature

Spending time in nature can have a calming effect on your mind and body. Take a walk in the park or go for a hike in the woods to feel rejuvenated.

Practice mindfulness meditation

Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on the present moment without judgment. It can help to reduce stress and anxiety levels. Set aside a few minutes every day to practice mindfulness meditation.

Listen to music

Music has a soothing effect on our minds. Listening to calming music can help to reduce stress levels. Create a playlist of your favorite relaxing tunes and listen to it when you feel stressed.

Practice yoga or tai chi

Yoga and tai chi are ancient practices that combine physical postures and breathing techniques. They can help to reduce stress levels and promote relaxation.

Connect with loved ones

Talking to friends and family members can help to reduce stress levels. It can provide a sense of comfort and support during challenging times.

Practice gratitude

Focusing on the positive aspects of life can help to reduce stress levels. Make a habit of practicing gratitude by writing down things you are thankful for every day.

Take breaks

Taking short breaks throughout the day can help to reduce stress levels. Go for a short walk, practice deep breathing or simply take a few moments to close your eyes and relax.

In conclusion, stress is a part of life, but it doesn’t have to take over. By incorporating these simple yet effective methods into your daily routine, you can reduce stress levels and improve your overall well-being. Remember, taking care of yourself should always be a top priority.

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