Politics of Visibility and Belonging: From Russia´s “Homosexual Propaganda” Laws to the Ukraine War, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Politics of Visibility and Belonging

From Russia´s “Homosexual Propaganda” Laws to the Ukraine War, 1st Edition

By Emil Edenborg


208 pages | 16 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781138036819
pub: 2017-07-12
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In this book, Edenborg studies contemporary conflicts of community as enacted in Russian media, from the ‘homosexual propaganda’ laws to the Sochi Olympics and the Ukraine war, and explores the role of visibility in the production and contestation of belonging to a political community.

The book examines what it is that determines which subjects and narratives become visible and which are occluded in public spheres; how they are seen and made intelligible; and how those processes are involved in the imagination of communities. Investigating the differentiated consequences of visibility, Edenborg discusses what forms of visibility make belonging possible and what forms of visibility may be related to exclusion or violence. The book maps and analyses the practices and mechanisms whereby a state seeks to produce and shape belonging through controlling what becomes visible in public, and how that which becomes visible is seen and understood. In addition, it examines what forms contestation can take and what its effects may be.

Advancing theoretical understanding and offering a useful way to analytically conceptualize the role of visibility in the production and contestation of political communities, this work will be of interest to students and scholars of gender and sexuality politics, borders, citizenship, nationalism, migration and ethnic relations.


This is an important book in which the role of visibility in general and the media as its facilitator in particular is added to the theorization of political projects of belonging. It focuses on fascinating contesting case studies from the Russian media but is of generic theoretical and political importance as well.

- Professor Nira Yuval-Davis, Director of the research centre on Migration, Refugees and Belonging, University of East London

Table of Contents


Tverskaya Ulitsa, Moscow, May 2006

Projects of belonging in contemporary Russia

1: Politics of belonging: from speech to visibility

Politics of belonging: the issues at stake

Politics of belonging as speech: (counter)narratives and (counter)publics

Politics of belonging as visibility contestations

2: Russian media as a space of appearance

A historical overview of media in Russia

Containing, amplifying and contesting visibility in Russia

Revisiting the audience(s)


3: "Homosexual propaganda": regulating queer visibility

Queer visibility, belonging and geopolitics

Regulating queerness in Russian history

The dominant interpretation of the propaganda law

Tensions in the narrative


4: Sochi: the nation on display

Politics of belonging and the spectacular

Contexts and controversies around the Sochi Games

Sochi-2014 as a project of belonging

Contesting the Sochi spectacle


5: Ukraine: spectacles and specters of warWar, (in)visibility and belonging

Part one: satire and violent cartographies

Part two: spectacular and spectral homecomings


Conclusion: nothing more to see?

The limits of speech

Arrangements of visibility and the production of belonging

Visibility, invisibility and resistance

Russian politics, belonging and visibility

Seeing ahead

About the Author

Emil Edenborg is Postdoctoral Researcher at Södertörn University, Sweden.

About the Series


The Series provides a forum for innovative and interdisciplinary work that engages with alternative critical, post-structural, feminist, postcolonial, psychoanalytic and cultural approaches to international relations and global politics. In our first 5 years we have published 60 volumes.

We aim to advance understanding of the key areas in which scholars working within broad critical post-structural traditions have chosen to make their interventions, and to present innovative analyses of important topics. Titles in the series engage with critical thinkers in philosophy, sociology, politics and other disciplines and provide situated historical, empirical and textual studies in international politics.


We are very happy to discuss your ideas at any stage of the project: just contact us for advice or proposal guidelines. Proposals should be submitted directly to the Series Editors:

  • Jenny Edkins (jennyedkins@hotmail.com) and
  • Nick Vaughan-Williams (N.Vaughan-Williams@Warwick.ac.uk).

‘As Michel Foucault has famously stated, "knowledge is not made for understanding; it is made for cutting" In this spirit The Edkins - Vaughan-Williams Interventions series solicits cutting edge, critical works that challenge mainstream understandings in international relations. It is the best place to contribute post disciplinary works that think rather than merely recognize and affirm the world recycled in IR's traditional geopolitical imaginary.’

Michael J. Shapiro, University of Hawai'i at Manoa, USA


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