Rescaling Postcolonial Approaches: The Making of Rural Peripheries in Estonian Media Discourse

  • Abstract:

    Recent studies on peripheralization discourses propose a rescaling of post-colonial frameworks to the regional and local level. This transfer does not only open the scope of analysis to the emergence of core-periphery relations on different scales, but also shifts the focus to the crucial role that centers play for (re)producing places denoted as peripheries. The paper attempts to make this approach fruitful for studying rural areas in post-soviet space. By being discursively placed on the downside of the west-east, urban-rural and progress-decline divide, they are not only labelled as peripheries, but also subordinated to centers setting themselves as the norm. Enwrapped in a neoliberal development and modernity discourse, Eastern Europe is therewith located in rural areas constructed as peripheries. As Europe has not yet given up ‘the need to have an East’, this resembles another instance of attempting to shift the boundaries of Easterness, but in this case internally. By being neither neutral nor innocent, such discourses are consequential as they co-constitute socio-spatial polarization and the politics involved in it. Following a critical discourse analysis approach, the making of rural peripheries will be discussed on the example of discourses in Estonian national print media. Despite being hegemonic, these can always be brushed against the grain in search for subaltern voices. Therefore, the illustrative analysis will deconstruct the dominant peripheralization discourse as well as its counter-discourses.