How states tighten control: a field theory perspective on journalism in contemporary Crimea.

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This article contributes to denationalizing Bourdieu's field theory by analysing the relationship between a regional news media field, the state and transnational influences. The article seeks to answer the question of how a state can impose limits on the autonomy of the news media field during political transition. Field theory is applied to changes that have taken place in Crimean news media since Russia's annexation of the peninsula in 2014. Drawing on narrative interviews with journalists who worked in Crimea in 2012-17, expert interviews, and secondary sources, I demonstrate how Crimea's news media field went from being dominated by varied Ukrainian private news media owners to becoming dominated by the Russian state. I show that states can employ direct measures such as anti-press violence and ownership appropriation of news media outlets in order to increase concentration of state media ownership. In addition, states can reallocate capital in the news media field, disenfranchising some journalists and outlets while favouring others. The adaptive strategies of individual journalists, who, upon losing capital, can sometimes relocate or leave their jobs, also changes the composition of news media fields. Departing from a common view of social spaces as bounded within nation-states, I examine how the news media field of Crimea has been shaped by both transnational influences, and by the direct imposition of Russian state power through a reconstitution of national borders.

Russia, Sociology of journalism, Ukraine, field theory, media, news media, Government, Humans, Interviews as Topic, Mass Media, Politics, Professional Autonomy, Russia, Social Change
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Br J Sociol
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Funding received from the Department of Sociology University of Cambridge, Newnham College Cambridge, and National Research University Higher School of Economics.