I. G. Napalkova, K. V. Kurochkina. Image of the Republic of Mordovia: Impressions, Symbols, Stereotypes

UDК 323.1:659.1(470.345)

DOI: 10.15507/2413-1407.113.028.202004.866-887

Introduction. In a competitive environment, the image of a modern region is an instrument of “soft power”, capable of enhancing the effectiveness of the territory's development, provided it is associated with positive impressions. In this regard, analyzing perception of the symbolic component of a region's image by various target groups is of particular importance. The purpose of the study is to reveal the symbols, impressions, stereotypes most prevailing among the respondents that form the image of the Republic of Mordovia, which are the factors in developing the regional identity.

Materials and Methods. The Republic of Mordovia was chosen for a case study: the region’s development is a vivid example of contradictoriness, the Republic being a leader in some indicators (it is among the safest regions of the country, it actively develops the innovative infrastructure, etc.) is a complete outsider in others (in the quality of life and average wages compared to other regions, etc.). Symbolic interactionism, emphasizing communication through symbols the meaning of which is set by the communicants, established the theoretical framework of the study. The method of focused interview provided the applied basis of the research. Discussions were held in 3 groups, formed according to the place of residence of the respondents: “foreigners”, “non-residents”, “residents”.

Results. Unique data on the specific features of the perception of the image of the Republic of Mordovia, promoted by various agencies involved in image-making, have been obtained. The dependence of assessments and emotional attitudes to various symbols on the territorial affiliation of the recipients has been revealed. It has been noted that associations between a number of symbols (fox, octagonal rosette, red color, etc.) and Mordovia are unclear to non-residents, i. e., the mechanism of explanation, fixation and consolidation in the row of “region – symbol” is broken.

Discussion and Conclusion. The authors have come to the conclusion that at present there are no images presenting unambiguously positive stable associations with the Republic of Mordovia, especially among “non-residents” and “foreigners”. The gap between the primary and secondary images is a rather worrying trend is, which can lead to dissonance, negative emotional response and negative assessments of the territory. The results of the study may be used to adjust the image-making policy of a region: to emphasize strengths and level weaknesses.

Keywords: image, impression, symbol, logo, broadcast, accentuation, association, identity, territory, region, Republic of Mordovia

Funding. The study was conducted with the financial support from the Russian Foundation for Basic Research and the Government of the Republic of Mordovia as part of the project “Modern Region in the Focus of Political Imageology (the Case of the Republic of Mordovia)” (No. 18-411-130012 r_a).

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.

For citation: Napalkova I.G., Kurochkina K.V. Image of the Republic of Mordovia: Impressions, Symbols, Stereotypes. Regionology = Russian Journal of Regional Studies. 2020; 28(4):866-887. DOI: https://doi.org/10.15507/2413-1407.113.028.202004.866-887


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Submitted 12.08.2020; accepted for publication 24.09.2020; published online 30.12.2020.

About the authors:

Irina G. Napalkova, Associate Professor, Department of World History, Political Science and Regional Studies, National Research Mordovia State University (68/1 Bolshevistskaya St., Saransk 430005, Russian Federation), Ph. D. (History), ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3896-1600, inapalckova@yandex.ru

Ksenia V. Kurochkina, Political Scientist; Master’s Degree Student, Department of World History, Political Science and Regional Studies; Research Officer, Center for Science and Education ‘Political Analysis of Territorial Systems’, National Research Mordovia State University (68/1 Bolshevistskaya St., Saransk 430005, Russian Federation), ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6993-4766, ksen.kurochckina2017@yandex.ru

Contribution of the authors:

Irina G. Napalkova – academic supervision; putting forward the basic idea of the study; substantiation of the theoretical and methodological foundations of the study; critical analysis; drawing conclusions; writing the article.

Ksenia V. Kurochkina – conducting the study; search for analytical materials; analysis of statistical and factual material; preparation of the initial version of the text.

The authors have read and approved the final version of the manuscript.

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