Tyumen State University Herald. Humanities Research. Humanitates


2022, Vol. 8. № 4 (32)


For citation: Dolgikh A. I. 2022. “A virtual image of an Arctic town (the case study of Salekhard)”. Tyumen State University Herald. Humanities Research. Humanitates, vol. 8, no. 4 (32), pp. 6-21. DOI: 10.21684/2411-197X-2022-8-4-6-21

About the author:

Anastasia I. Dolgikh, Postgraduate Student, University of Tyumen; dolgix.n@yandex.ru


The paper is concerned with a virtual image of an Arctic town as exemplified by Salekhard. Arctic discourse is extensively researched in contemporary humanities and social studies. The Arctic is being conceptualized as a unique region of circumpolar civilization, and its sustainability is considered a national issue of strategic importance, particularly in terms of the prosperity of Arctic towns, which have received a significant investment to shape their brands and identities. The above-mentioned trends are key to understanding the relevance of the study. However, few Russian researchers have previously dealt with the issues of shaping, preserving, and developing Russian Arctic towns’ unique identity and representation in a virtual space. This paper seeks to contribute to this area of research. Hence, the paper is aimed at identifying key characteristics of an Arctic town’s virtual image as represented by Salekhard, the administrative centre of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug located in the Arctic zone of the Russian Federation. To explore Salekhard’s virtual image, the author has adopted a contextual analysis of data retrieved from January to June 2022 through parcing the official community of Salekhard’s municipality administration on the social networking service VK (VKontakte) facilitated by VK API. In terms of the study’s findings, the specific components shaping the image of Arctic towns are presented; the notion of ‘a town’s virtual image’ is defined; key topics, most popular hashtags and most frequent lexemes are revealed by means of contextual analysis; evaluative and functional dominants of VK posts that affect Salekhard’s image are identified; building upon this, authentic features of Salekhard as an Arctic town are outlined. In conclusion, emphasis is placed on peculiar features of the representation of Arctic discourse in a virtual space based on the explored data, contextual conditions of shaping, developing and promoting the town’s virtual image, and major components that constitute this image.


  1. Youth’s Life in the Far North. https://vk.com/yamalsergeyserotetto [In Russian]
  2. The Administration of Salekhard: official community. https://vk.com/salekhard_adm [In Russian]
  3. The First Yamal Food Blogger. https://vk.com/djafar_saitov [In Russian]
  4. The Regional Brand ‘Made in Yamal’ registered at Rospatent. https://old.yanao.ru/presscenter/news/91546/ [In Russian]
  5. Tereshchenko Ye. Yu., Zhelning Z. Yu. 2020. “A Visual Text of an Arctic Town: Methods of Analysis and Variations of Interpretation”. Obshchestvo: filosofiya, istoriya, kultura, no. 4 (72), pp. 87-93. DOI: 10.24158/fik.2020.4.16 [In Russian]
  6. Tikhanova Ye. V. 2013. “The Dynamics of Regional Borders as a Basis for the Constitution of a Town’s Identity”. In: Brending malykh i srednikh gorodov v Rossii: opyt, problrmy, perspectivy. Materials of the international research and training conference, 28th — 29th March 2013, pp. 118-123. Ekaterinburg: UrFU.
  7. Decree of the President of the Russian Federation No 164 of 3 March 2020 “On Basic Principles of Russian Federation State Policy in the Arctic to 2035”. http://publication.pravo.gov.ru/Document/View/0001202003050019 [In Russian]
  8. Fedotova N. G. 2017. “Shaping a Town’s Identity: Factor and Institutional Aspects”. In: Zhurnal sotsiologii i sotsial’noy antropologii, no. 20 (3), pp. 32-49. [In Russian]
  9. Al-Ghamdi S. A., and Al-Harigi F. 2015. “Rethinking Image of the City in the Information Age”. Procedia Computer Science, no. 65, pp. 734-743. DOI: 10.1016/j.procs.2015.09.018
  10. Berman M., and Orttung R. W. 2020. “Measuring Progress toward Urban Sustainability: Do Global Measures Work for Arctic Cities?”. In: Sustainability, no. 12 (9), 3708, pp. 1-14. DOI: 10.3390/su12093708
  11. Bonino M. 2019. The City after Chinese New Towns: Spaces and Imaginaries from Contemporary Urban China. Ed. by M. Bonino, F. Governa, M. P. Repellino. Basel: Birkhäuser.
  12. Filomena G., Verstegen J., and Manley E. 2019. “A computational approach to “The Image of the City””. Cities, no. 89, pp. 14-25.
  13. Huang J., Obracht-Prondzynska H., Kamrowska-Zaluska D., Sun Y., and Li L. 2021. “The Image of the City on Social Media: a comparative study using “Big Data” and “Small Data” methods in the Tri-City Region in Poland”. Landscape and Urban Planning, no. 206 (3), art. 103977, pp. 1-19. DOI: 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2020.103977
  14. Lynch K. 1960.The Image of the City. Cambridge: MIT Press.
  15. Shelton T., Poorthuis A., and Zook M. 2015. “Social Media and the City: Rethinking Urban Socio-Spatial Inequality Using User-Generated Geographic Information”. Landscape and Urban Planning, no. 142, pp. 198-211. DOI: 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2015.02.020
  16. Shen Y., Xu Y., and Liu L. 2021. “Crowd-Sourced City Images: Decoding Multidimensional Interaction between Imagery Elements with Volunteered Photos”. ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information, no. 10 (11), 740, pp. 1-22. DOI: 10.3390/ijgi10110740
  17. Syrovatsk!y | ProYamal. https://vk.com/syr0vatskiy. [In Russian]
  18. Using Contextual Analysis to Evaluate Texts. University of Nebraska-Lincoln Official Website. Retrieved from: https://english.unl.edu/sbehrendt/StudyQuestions/ContextualAnalysis.html