Essay In Terms Of Social Space And Time


The paper determines the nature of media speech. Its main property is its direct involvement in the general practical activity of society. The concept of the communicative status of the text is introduced. The status of the current text assumes that the text is read immediately after its publication. The status of the text of the past tense suggests that the text is considered to have lost direct connection with practical everyday life, but not lost informational connection with society. The status of a cognitive text has texts that have lost touch with society and belong to the field of knowledge, where media texts exist only as artifacts of their era. The communicative properties of the essay are analyzed in detail. The essay receives cognitive value thanks to figurative speech, the basis of which is graphic art. The semantic specificity of identifying vocabulary, the main visual medium, ensures that the media text-cognitive is included in the general fund of texts that form the foundation of national culture. The essay has rich intertextual links with both traditional verbal texts and texts based on other sign systems, as well as with polycode texts. It is shown in the work that only an essay having the status of a cognitive text can be considered in terms of the category of chronotope. The content of the theoretical principles, the legitimacy of the conclusions drawn are based on the analysis of V. Peskov’s essay “A Night at the Mill”.

Keywords: Chronotopecommunicative status of media textessaymedia textsocial space-time


Researchers have long considered the main distinctive feature of the essay as a genre of journalism the unity of imagery and social-political approach. There is a fairly large and varied literature on the study of the means of visualization and expressiveness in an essay or in reports with a developed descriptive and analytical nature.

However, studies of the functional specificity of imagery due to the nature of media speech are practically not presented in the modern scientific context (Vartanova et al., 2019). Accordingly, there is no deep understanding of the speech specifics of the essay, which cannot be contained only in imagery. Why, the essay, which, like any media text that is created for here and for now , continues to live in the consciousness of society: essay texts are not just stored, they are republished, discussed as a relevant communicative product and many years after its publication. An example is the essay by Krivitsky (1942) “On the 28 Fallen Heroes”.

Problem Statement

From the point of view of common sense, the situation is easily explained. Essays are devoted to the fundamental problems of society. Authors with a bright individual style write multiple pages. However, despite the apparent clarity and obviousness of such an explanation, the linguistic mechanisms that determine the longevity of the essay text have not yet been subject to rigorous analysis.

Research Questions

When conducting research in line with the designated topic, it is necessary to pose a number of questions correctly.

1. The content of the term media speech has not yet been spelled out in the practice of research work. In an implicit form, it is used as a synonym for the term journalistic style, although in terminology synonymy should in principle be excluded. In the dictionary “Medialinguistics in Terms and Concepts” (Duskaeva, 2018c), the term media speech is missing. Thus, it is required to define clearly the nature of media speech, its ontology.

2. In studies both purely linguistic and those carried out in areas adjacent to the linguistic, the terms vividness, expressiveness, figurativeness do not have exact generally accepted definitions, they are not connected by systemic relations, are not correlated with each other (Zueva, 2020). A coherent understanding of the content of each of these terms should be proposed.

3. Based on the system of the above basic terms, we must describe the linguistic mechanism that ensures the longevity of such a media text as an essay.

4. Finally, it is necessary to answer the question of whether the category of chronotope can be extended to the interpretation of media texts in the sense that it has in the works of Bakhtin (1975). Journalism researchers are actively using the category of chronotope, but by chronotope they understand primarily the spatio-temporal organization of society, giving this category an instrumental character (Vitvinchuk, 2014, p. 39).

Purpose of the Study

The questions formulated above are selected and posed in such a way that, on the one hand, we can identify and analyze the basic characteristics of media fiction and journalistic text that make up its ontological basis. On the other hand, based on this theoretical basis, we should be able to describe the features of the inclusion of essay-type texts in the speech practice of society, their communicative-speech specificity, determined by the movement of the text along the time axis.

Research Methods

As material for analysis, we used the essay by Peskov (1976a) “A Night at the Mill”.

Media speech in the narrow sense is speech produced by the media (or their communicative counterparts) and functioning in the communicative environment of the media and / or the Internet. Its basic ontological property is utilitarianism - direct involvement in the daily practical activities of society. Any media publication in one way or another fits into the non-speech context of everyday life, is part of it. In some extreme cases, the involvement of media speech in the life of society is extremely aggressive. Researchers are talking about the formation of “the function of informational, or media, aggression, which is a manipulative belief” (Ozyumenko, 2017, p. 2016). In this respect, the question of legal protection of the audience may even arise (Koryagina & Kravchenko, 2019). Duskaeva (2018a) discusses utilitarianism in the praxiological aspect.

As a result, any media text has a performative component. The concept of performative was originally associated with the theory of speech acts by Austin (1986) and Searle (1986). But Habermas (1989), using self-presentation texts as an example, showed that the category of performative is also relevant for the description of the text. The idea of Yu. Habermas is easily confirmed by the nature of the reaction of readers to the analyzed essay: “Next summer I will take my children to this Bryansk mill,” writes Valery Korsun, an engineer from Volgograd. - Yes, and I want to see it myself. I heard a lot about the mills from my grandfather...” (Peskov, 1976b). We see that the text has a direct impact on the lives of other people, directly invading their general non-speech activity. Studies on the transformation of news content on regional channels also indicate the presence of a performative component in the media text (Evdokimov, 2019).

Utilitarian character of the media text should be interpreted through the category of social space and time. The media text throughout its entire existence is linked by the coordinates of social space and time, indicating the time and place of publication (Sorokin & Merton, 2004). As time passes, the media text changes its communicative status, which we understand as the communicative features of the text, determined by the ratio of the coordinates of the social space and time, fixing the moment of publication and the moment of reading the media text. The text that is read immediately after its publication has the status of the current text. The text that has lost a direct connection with practical everyday life, but has not lost an informational connection with society, has the status of the text of the past tense. The text that has lost touch with society (for example, because of its reformatting) and belongs to the field of knowledge, where media texts exist only as artifacts of their era, has the status of a cognitive text. So, for example, now, in 2020, the text printed in the Izvestia newspaper on March 4, 1917 is perceived as follows:


The review of the troops expected for March 5th, which was supposed to be a celebration on the occasion of the decisive victory of the people in overthrowing the old order, is postponed. The day of this celebration will be announced separately.

Major-General Anosov, Acting Commander-in-Chief of the Forces in Petrograd and its environs.

Over time, the media text changes its communicative status. Usually the movement occurs in the direction from the current text to the text of the past tense and further to the cognitive text. Possible movement in the opposite direction. The cognitive text, due to the current situation, can be updated in connection with a significant date, anniversary, etc. Thus the text “The Renunciation of the Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich” from the 1917 Izvestia newspaper was repeatedly reprinted and commented on.

Since media texts are utilitarian and needed only at a certain time and in a certain place, they are not subject to storage. In this regard, we can draw an analogy with colloquial speech. If media speech is an everyday means of communication of a society inscribed in its general non-speech practical activity, then colloquial speech is an everyday means of communication in interpersonal communication in a person’s everyday existence. The phrase “Take an apple” pronounced in the kitchen, loses its value immediately after pronouncing and is not subject to storage.

Literary and social-political texts enter the speech practice of society in a completely different way. The essay under consideration, immediately after publication, had the status of an actual text: the publication aroused readers' desire to see the described place with their own eyes. Now “A Night at the Mill” is the text of the past tense. It is interpreted as a fragment of the combined text of V. Peskov’s works and is interesting for us as a text touching upon the problem of preserving the foundations of national culture. It is no coincidence that a wealth of materials on his work were published in different Russian media on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of this journalist.

The re-publication of the essay in the Collected Works of Peskov (2014) is evidence that this essay has received the communicative status of a cognitive text, the possibility of independent existence regardless of the time of its publication: it can be read at any time anywhere, and at the same time it does not lose its cognitive value. This is explained by the fact that the object of analysis in the essay is presented as an image, which fundamentally distinguishes this genre from all other types of analytical genres.

Borev (1997) defined the specificity of the image as “the unity of the objective and subjective. The image includes not only the material of reality, processed by the creative imagination of the artist, but also his attitude to the depicted” (p. 297). Translated into the language of linguistics, the material of reality is an image, a visual representation of a fragment of reality, created on the basis of visual, auditory, olfactory, tactile perception. The subjective is the sphere of the author’s consciousness in the image: his vision of the situation, his attitude, and his ideas related in his mind to the image.

Let us consider the image of the mill itself and all that the existence of the mill leaves its mark on, as it were, its continuation in the world around it:

1. The bed was filled to the brim. Thickets of meadowsweet, willow, and cattail covered the banks. Geese were swimming through the backwaters. Circles diverged from the fish. And the exciting smell of healthy water came from the river, the smell of coastal herbs and bottom plants. Water, willow trees near the water, geese grazing, and horses.

2. Three wheels spun around the log house ... Backed water poured over three wooden trays onto the wheels with wide “feathers”. Shafts of wheels with wooden gears ... connected with shafts, turning millstones.

The main visual medium is vocabulary with an objective, or identifying, meaning (in bold). In the reader’s mind, the identifying word replaces the subject itself: “Identifying words are a kind of signal that causes interlocutors of subjective representations. It is appropriate to compare denotative values with images of the same model made by different artists” (Arutyunova, 1998, p. 3). The visual image created on the basis of identifying vocabulary, according to philosophers, is itself the result of cognizing the world: “Visibility is a property of developed knowledge and a condition for understanding this knowledge by another individual” (Pivovarov, 1998, p. 521). Words with an identifying meaning “are descriptive in nature, portrait-like. They awaken the imagination” (Arutyunova, 1998, p. 23). That is why they have the ability to generate meanings in accordance with the focus of the author’s thought.

As for the term image, we proceed from the fact that if the image is created as an embodiment, the bearer of the author’s idea, then in this case we say that the image acquires the status of an image. The idea of an image is not indicated by words and subtracted from the features of the image itself.

The first example above is an image: the text is based on vocabulary with an identifying value. The image, of course, has a conceptual basis, which can be formed approximately as follows. Small rivers in the midland without mills dry up or become shallow. A filled riverbed is the evidence of a beneficial effect. The rising water gives life to the plants: meadowsweet, willow and cattail; the smell of coastal herbs, bottom plants; willow. Where there is water, there are poultry, animals: geese, horses. The preserved elements of the material culture of the past provide a decent life in the present.

There are several such micro-images in the sketch. The image of the working mill mechanism speaks of the satisfaction that a person experiences from correctly and successfully performed work, emphasizes the value of labor as one of the main moral values of life.

The “mill” text has rich intertextual connections (Bakhtin, 1979; Kristeva, 2004). The “mill” text has rich intertextual connections (Bakhtin, 1979; Kristeva, 2004). The image of the mill is presented in the works of Zhukovsky (1960), Nikitin (1965), Chekhov (1962). Ivanov (1993), Tsvetaeva (1993), Klychkov (1985), and others. Mill as a concept, as a key word of Russian culture is widely represented in painting.

A huge number of intertextual connections leads to the fact that the text, without ceasing to remain a media text by origin, acquires the communicative status of a cognitive text, the keeper of key elements of national culture. What researchers call the mediation of culture happens when “the media not only broadcasts codes of classical, popular or mass culture, but also create a special type of culture - media culture” (Baygozhina et al., 2019, p. 797). Texts of this type are self-sufficient and exist independently of the date and place of their publication.


Thus, the essay is included in the speech practice of society twice: first as an actual text, the second time as a cognitive text that has become an element of national culture. In this case, the text, due to the specifics of figurative speech, forms its own internal virtual world, which is correlated with the external world displayed in the outline, but not equal to it. To what extent is it possible to use the chronotope category in the study of this essay? It all depends on the communicative status of the text.

In the understanding of Bakhtin (1975), a chronotope is a spatio-temporal organization of the virtual world of a work of art, when the image, for example, of a character is determined by the aesthetic, social factors of its time: “The signs of time are revealed in space, and space is conceptualized and measured by time. This intersection of rows and the merging of signs is characterized by an artistic chronotope” (p. 235).

If we consider the essay “A Night at the Mill” as an actual text, then the flow of time depicted in the essay is perceived by the reader as the flow of his own time. The reader and the author live in the same coordinate system of social space-time: Recently, in Bryansk, my float for the luck of an abandoned fishing rod suddenly stirred. Instead of the usual “no, I don’t remember,” one person said: “The mill ?.. Yes, if you want, we can go there today ...” At that very hour we set off. The circumstances of the time recently and at the same hour for the journalist and for the reader are the same in meaning. Obviously, there is no need to talk about the use of the category of chronotope in this situation: the time flows in the text in which the reader lives, and the reader does not live on the chronotope, but on the calendar.

A completely different situation arises when the text is read after several years as the text of the past tense. A change in the communicative status of the text leads to significant changes in the perception of the text in terms of the space-time category.

For the reader, the meaning and meaning of words recently and at the same hour are no longer determined by the time they read the text. But in the world depicted in the text, the meaning of the word recently for the author remains the same as it was. The world depicted in the text has separated from the reader, has become a thing of the past and in this sense has become virtual.

In the actual text, the verb of the perfect form of the past tense decided to determine the mental state of the author as cash. After a few years, the meaning of the verb decided by the reader will be perceived differently: the verb decided in this case represents the action as ending in the past and no longer having any connection with the present - a meaning close to the ancient Russian aorist.

However, in the virtual world of the essay, the verb “decided” we always interpret in perfect meaning. Here, the verb “decided” is embedded in the chain of perfect verbs, indicating the sequence of actions of the author: I decided; one person said; we set off; we saw a river; we got out of the “gazik”; he [the shepherd] immediately led us into place; we looked under the roof; we went out on the threshold; the miller lifted the bolts; we decided not to go to Trubchevsk; the chairman brought the old man and introduced; we went out to conduct the master; we said goodbye.

On the basis of this narrative chain, the entire text is formed. The verb is the engine of the expanding text. In this world, its own, different from the reader’s social time, text time, its space, understood as an element of the society that has left us. The world around the reader is changing. In the text, the world lives without moving along the axis of social time. It is forever attached to the time of its publication. But inside this virtual world, time moves. So, the actual media essay, having received the status of the text of the past tense, acquires features that allow using the category of chronotope in its description.

Among researchers, however, there is an opinion that the category of chronotope is applicable to any media text. Shmeleva (2019) believes that “the news has a chronotope of the “immediate past” and wide capture of space, since the media picture is created in principle on the entire planet, but the scale of the “captured” events changes. The report suggests the chronotope “here and now”, providing the effect of the presence of the listener/reader. Analytical articles expand the temporal and spatial range by comparing current situations with “there and then” (p. 279).

It seems that the author does not take into account the ontology of the media text, its special relationship with the category of social space-time. As already mentioned, the current media text is directly inscribed in the general practical activity of society, in the space and time of the reader, there can be no talk of a chronotope in the understanding of M. M. Bakhtin.

A virtual world is formed in the figurative media text, and such a textual world can be described on the basis of the category of chronotope.


An overview of the research done leads us to conclude that the nature of media is still understudied. The emphasis is not so much on the properties of media speech itself as on the history of its study and the specifics of the sciences that study it (Duskaeva, 2018b). The connection of media speech with the communicative environment of the media and the Internet is obvious, but the question arises about the scope of this concept: is media speech only the speech produced by the media and their analogs, or is it any speech that operates in the communicative environment of the media and partly the Internet? How do the concepts of media speech and journalistic style relate to each other? If colloquial speech is a means of social communication in the sphere of everyday life, media speech is everyday social speech. And how then does the entire stylistic system of Russian speech line up?


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Konkov, V. (2021). Essay In Terms Of Social Space And Time. In E. V. Toropova, E. F. Zhukova, S. A. Malenko, T. L. Kaminskaya, N. V. Salonikov, V. I. Makarov, A. V. Batulina, M. V. Zvyaglova, O. A. Fikhtner, & A. M. Grinev (Eds.), Man, Society, Communication, vol 108. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 1134-1141). European Publisher.