Myth as a Category of Symbolic Politics: Analysis of Theoretical Junctions

Myth as a Category of Symbolic Politics:
Analysis of Theoretical Junctions

Malinova O.Yu.,

Dr. Sci. (Philos.), Professor, Professor of the National Research University Higher School of Economics (HSE); Principal Researcher, Department of Political Science of the Institute of Scientific Information for Social Sciences, Russian Academy of Sciences,

elibrary_id: 197217 | ORCID: 0000-0002-2754-8055 | RESEARCHER_ID: J-7893-2015

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2015.04.03

For citation:

Malinova O.Yu. Myth as a Category of Symbolic Politics: Analysis of Theoretical Junctions. – Polis. Political Studies. 2015. No. 4. P. 12-21. (In Russ.).


The article describes theoretical junctions revealed by different definitions and usages of the concept “political myth”. It argues that the main difficulty results from the fact that “myth” is a “universal” social phenomenon that is rather “particular” in its manifestation: it is fundamental for any society, but its “work” depends on perception of specific groups in concrete contexts. The article considers theoretical discussions about a narrative nature of contemporary myths, their exclusively verbal or non-verbal form, about arrangement of mythical comprehension of reality and mechanisms of mythologization, about connections between myths and ideologies. However most scholars agree that about capability to be shared and perceived as “a natural order of things” should be considered a key characteristic of any myth. This category is fundamental for analysis of symbolic politics. However its heuristic potential depends on a particular research focus. In the frame of narrower approach that considers symbolic politics as a “constructivist” activity of political elites aimed at manipulation of mass consciousness “the myth” comes as a category of political practice; it points to “artificial”, simulating character of the constructed signs. While a wider approach viewing symbolic politics as a social production of competing ways of interpretation of reality and struggle for their domination opens a perspective for considering myth as communicative process that involves both mythmakers and their auditory. It makes focus on a study of both political and semantic conditions that make particular myth a “lens” that determines perception of reality. So, myth turns to be both category of practice in symbolic politics and instrument of its analysis which makes the work with this term rather complicated.

political myth; ideology; symbolic politics; social constructivism; mythologization; communication; frame..

Content No. 4, 2015

See also:

Bereznyakov D.V., Kozlov S.V.,
Symbolic Politics in Post-Soviet Ukraine: Construction of the Legitimizing Narrative. – Polis. Political Studies. 2015. No4

Pushkaryova G.V.,
Political branding: turning to symbolic policy. – Polis. Political Studies. 2022. No4

Gavrilova M.V.,
Explication of politician’s ideological representations: linguistico-cognitive approach. – Polis. Political Studies. 2010. No3

Theme of the issue: Communication and politics. – Polis. Political Studies. 2011. No5

Fishman L.G.,
Political Myth and Ideology: Dangerous Rapprochement?. – Polis. Political Studies. 2006. No4



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