Article Information

THE RURAL READERS IN TRANSITION: TRADITIONAL AND DIGITAL READING PRACTICES AND ATTITUDES

Evgeniya Petrova (evpetrova@hse.ru), Ekaterina Shalonskaya

National Research University “Higher School of Economics”, Moscow, Russia

Citation: Petrova E., Shalonskaya E. (2022) Sel'skiy chitatel' v perekhodnyy period: traditsionnyye i tsifrovyye praktiki chteniya i otnosheniye k nim [The rural readers in transition: traditional and digital reading practices and attitudes]. Zhurnal sotsiologii i sotsialnoy antropologii [The Journal of Sociology and Social Anthropology], 25(1): 103–131 (in Russian). https://doi.org/10.31119/jssa.2022.25.1.4 

Abstract. The article examines how the reading practices of the residents of rural Russia are changing under the influence of digital transformations. The study is based on the materials of the expeditions collected in two Russian rural areas — the village of Glazok (Tambov region, 2018) and the rural settlement of Gzhelskoye (Moscow Region, 2019). The expeditions took place at a time when the Internet had already become a familiar technology for most informants. It was found that there are differences in both practices and attitudes to reading in different age groups. At the same time, paradoxically, a positive attitude to reading does not mean that respondents actually read. In the group of older respondents (more than 50 years old) they think that reading is very important, they treat it positively, but they practically do not read. Middle-aged respondents are a more reading group, prefer mostly printed publications, digital practices are secondary for them. Young respondents (under 30) are more reserved about reading, but this group reads the most. Fragmented reading is more common than reading long (solid) texts. This is typical for both print and digital platforms. However, informants with rich and diverse reading practices implement them in both traditional and digital versions. The authors conclude that the issue of reading for the rural environment is closely connected with learning and education. The main limitations of this environment are not in the technological, but in the socio-cultural context.

Keywords: reading, media, media practices, digital technologies, rural Russia.

Acknowledgements

The article uses materials collected during the projects supported by the Program of the “Educational Innovation Fund: media consumption and media use in rural areas of Russia (the case of the rural agglomeration Gzhel, Moscow region)”, 2019. The article prepared within the framework of the project “Media in Rural Russia: Technologies, Practices, Effects” (no. 19-04-041) supported by the program “Science Foundation of the National Research University Higher School of Economics (NRU HSE)” in 2018–2019 and with the state support for the leading universities of the Russian Federation “5-100”. The authors are grateful to the inspirers, expedition leaders, administrators, and all participants in these projects for the research assistance.

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