Кaliningrаd Oblast’ Image in Migrants’ Narratives
Cand. Sci. (Sociology), Head of Sociological Lab, Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University, Kaliningrad, Russia ASHCHekoturov@kantiana.ru
The work was supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research and the Governments of the Kaliningrad region, project No. 19-411-390001.
The image of a region is an interdisciplinary research subject both at the international level of analysis and in domestic works there features conceptually contradictory approaches and the need for sociological support vs results obtained. This article aims to demonstrate theoretical and methodological value and empirical potential of the research object – the Kaliningrad oblast’, information about which is formed mainly from the mass media due to its special territorial location. The subject of the research is reproduction of images of the Kaliningrad region in the discursive consciousness of two social groups for which information about the region is directly incorporated into social practices: immigrants and emigrants. Research methods: content analysis of media publications and in-depth interviews. Through the Medialogia platform, the entire universe of Russian media reports about the region 2014 through 2020 was downloaded (N = 7000), the sample consisted of 2577 publications. In-depth interviews with immigrants (N = 45) and emigrants (N = 15) were analyzed via program Atlas.ti. The structure of the information field of the Kaliningrad region is described. In the group of immigrants the dominant image of the Kaliningrad region is a tourist attracting region of international cooperation. The image of a tourist region with a developing infrastructure prevails in the group of emigrants. It is concluded that there is a high potential for interdisciplinary research of the region’s image, by which we propose to understand the system of recursive constitution and reproduction of images (ideas) and social practices (relations), depending on the type of resources (information sources) used and the social group of actors (target audience).