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Social and political perceptions of the Borat phenomenon in Kazakhstan: evidence from a case study of university students

[journal article]

Ó Beacháin, Donnacha

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Abstract "This article begins by chronicling and evaluating the reaction of the government of Kazakhstan to Sacha Baron Cohen's film Borat—Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. It then compares and contrasts the official government reaction with the expressed attitudes of local members of Kazakhstan's young English-speaking elites. This study is based on the results of a survey of almost five hundred young university students conducted in March 2007 at the Kazakhstan Institute of Management, Economics and Strategic Research (KIMEP), the most prestigious university in the country. The sample gives a snapshot of those most likely to have been aware of Borat - the young, internet-savvy, educated urban elite - and inter alia provides insights into how respondents in Kazakhstan thought the movie impacted their country and would influence how they were treated abroad. The survey results suggest that while responses to Borat were heterogeneous, most students accepted that the choice of Kazakhstan as a target for satire was coincidental rather than conspiratorial. Despite official efforts to ban the movie, a majority of the respondents had seen the fi lm and believed that the ban was a mistake. Also, while recognising that Borat would raise Kazakhstan’s profile in the world, respondents doubted it would increase knowledge, and some feared a change in their treatment when travelling abroad" (author's abstract)
Keywords Kazakhstan; documentary film; youth film; satire; humor; government; reaction; student; female student; evaluation
Classification Impact Research, Recipient Research; Other Media
Document language English
Publication Year 2011
Page/Pages p. 51-63
Journal Studies of Transition States and Societies, 3 (2011) 3
ISSN 1736-8758
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications