Suleimanova O. Presentation of the culture of the Kola Sami in Vkontakte social network: the dynamics of the visual images of material culture

O. Suleymanova - Kola Science Centre of the RAS Apatity, Russian Federation ORCID: 0000-0001-5109-958Х
E-mail: sul-olesya@yandex.ru

 

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ABSTRACT. The article responds to the need to fill the gap in the studies of modern practices of using new information technologies to represent material culture as a factor in the preservation and transmission of the ethnic identity of the indigenous population of the Murmansk Region. The author analyzes the content of 11 official groups, i.e. virtual Sami communities and 10 personal pages of Sami people in Vkontakte social network, using the methods of virtual included observation and content analysis of textual and visual materials. Based on the analysis of the data, various types of visual sources representing elements of the material culture of the indigenous population in the virtual space have been identified. Depending on the type of visual sources, their functions also vary. Belonging to the ethnic community is demonstrated by means of avatars and personal photographs, in which members of the social network are captured in national costumes or with certain attributes of the Sami culture. Visual sources from museum collections represent elements of the traditional material culture of the Sami community, contributing to the transmission of traditional knowledge. Communication, integration, and exchange of information and knowledge through visual images are carried out both within the Sami community and outside it, since virtual groups are ‘open’ for everyone. It has been revealed that the visual images of the material culture of the Sami can be used for commercial purposes (for example, to sale souvenirs with ethnic symbols, etc.). ‘Simplified’ use of ethnically labeled things for commercial purposes contributes to the distortion of the ethnic image. The study has showed that representatives of the Sami community are fighting against the ‘simplified’ use of ethnic symbols by spreading ‘incorrect’ visual images through reposts in order to attract the public. In the context of modern realities, and in connection with the pandemic, new forms of ethnic self-presentation have been identified. They reflect the dynamics of the visual images of the material culture of the Sami (in particular, the introduction of face masks with ethnic symbols).

 

DOI 10.31250/2618-8600-2020-3(9)-169-199
УДК 0 04.946:39(=511.12)

 

KEYWORDS: visual content, material culture, Sami of Murmansk Region, social networks, photo representations, ethnic identity

 

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