This page contains the names, abstracts and panel information for 18th annual Aleksanteri Conference participants with surnames beginning with letters I to K . Please see speakers A — D, E — H, L — N, O — P, R— S and T— Ö on respective pages. Note also, that panels and roundtables covered by a single abstract are listed separately.
Speakers I — K
Debating structural violence in the European Heritage Label
Our paper focuses on difficult heritage associated with three forms of structural violence in European history - the communist and Nazi regimes and the former European colonies. We scrutinize how these three sources of difficult heritage are dealt with in EU’s flagship heritage action, the European Heritage Label (EHL). Heritagising places associated with structural violence enables contemporary people to deal with the guilt and traumas of the past. In the best of cases this ‘learning process’ contributes to more inclusive future imaginaries. Simultaneously, heritagising difficult pasts evokes questions over the shifting boundaries between villains, victims and heroes.
Our empirical data consists of three EHL sites: Solidarity Center (Poland), Camp Westerbork (the Netherlands) and Sagres Promontory (Portugal). Solidarity Center tells an Eastern European story (communist regime), Camp Westerbork represents broader European experience (Holocaust), and both Camp Westerbork and Sagres Promontory are indirectly connected to structural violence targeted outside Europe (colonialism). In the EU heritage discourse these three cases differ largely in terms of who the ‘villains’ and ‘victims’ are. From the EU perspective Solidarity Center communicates violence of ‘the Other’ against ‘us’, whereas Camp Westerbork stands for ‘our’ violence against ‘us’ and Sagres for ‘our’ violence against (supposed external) ‘Others’. We argue, that the binary juxtaposition between the holocaust and communism as the two forms of structural violence in Europe, has enabled heritage debates to pay less attention to colonialism as more abstract and more distant form of European structural violence.
This paper is co-authored with Johanna Turunen.
Coverage of the 1968 Czechoslovakian crisis in the USSR: the issues of the population and the responses of the press
The 1968 Czechoslovakian crisis was one of the most difficult for the duration of socialist system. The Soviet leadership attached great importance to this conflict. This conflict caused a great deal of attention from the newspapers. It is quite natural that the Soviet citizens had many questions in regards to the situation in Czechoslovakia: what is the position and the possible actions of the USSR and other socialist countries, the place of the conflict in the existing system of international relations, and the opinion of the different social groups in Czechoslovakia, etc.
The press was the main source of information for the majority of the Soviet population. But one cannot state that the newspaper information was simply "taken on faith" by the readers. It was analyzed, compared and critically evaluated. Despite the fact that the government had an official stance on the information regarding the situation in Czechoslovakia, each newspaper covered the events in different ways. The press materials were considered problematic issues, for example, disagreements between socialist countries on the situation in Czechoslovakia. The local press paid great attention to the Czechoslovakian topic. The city newspapers found their niche by publishing reports from local meetings, letters from readers, materials about Czechoslovakian twin cities, economic cooperation of a region with Czechoslovakia, and notes of those who visited Czechoslovakia.
The comparison of materials between different editions allowed readers to create a picture of the events. At the same time, there were "white spots" in the press - subjects that were covered poorly and or contradictory, without specifying certain facts about the situation. This caused for a lot of questioning and negative responses from the general population. Analysis of historical realities shows that such gaps in information coverage were directly related to changes in the political situation within the conflict.
Presents in panel 3C
"To Each According to His Contribution" A Rudiment of Socialism or a Criterion of Justice and Hidden Resource of Economic Growth? Evidence from Russia
The research is devoted to the measuring the subjective injustice of remuneration of labor. The paper gives a quantitative and cost estimate of the "socially non-optimized" components of labor, which arise due to the existence of deflection of wage from its socially expected value, perceived by individuals as injustice.
An existence of "socially non-optimized" labor reveals the instability of equilibrium in the labor market. Such equilibrium can only be temporarily maintained and legitimized with "fabricated" by the elites the public consent understood in terms of theory of hegemony by Antonio Gramsci. At the same time, the maintaining of this equilibrium does not allow providing potential economic productivity due to the fact that even being optimal in terms of available individual market strategies it does not correspond to the paradigm of justice.
The key calculated parameter is the value of "social non-optimized" product of labor, i.e. that part of total labor product which is created by the employees over fair pay. Aggregate estimates of this value show the portion of social welfare (measured by GDP or GPI) that is produced inefficiently and those human efforts that could be used more efficiently by bringing the characteristics of work in line with equity.
The average value of the individual "socially non-optimized" product of labor (~1,800 Euros a year) and the proportion of the working population with such components of labor (~57%) were determined. The share of the "socially non-optimized" product of labor is about 40% of the total product created by the average working individual in Russia. The analysis revealed the system of social and economic determinants of subjectively perceived injustice and allowed to evaluate the probability of generating the "socially non-optimized" product by individuals.
The relationship between subjectively perceived injustice as societal phenomenon and potential individual labor productivity creates a conceptual basis for revising the logic of modern perception of the key thesis for socialism "To each according to his contribution" and rethinking it as a hidden resource of efficiency and economic growth.
Calculations rely on data from a representative survey conducted in Russia in June 2017.
This work was supported by the Russian Science Foundation under Grant number 16-18-10270.
Presents in panel 6I
Brother or Other? Transformation of visual representation of Ukrainians in the Russian television news during the Ukrainian crisis.
The paper aims to explore how the Russian television news deconstructs the image of Ukrainians as brothers and repositions them inside the imagined social reality where Ukrainians represent threatening Others. The research material is extracted from Channel One, which is one of the biggest and most popular television channels in Russia. The data was collected from the website of Channel One during the period from 1.11.2012, a year before EuroMaidan started, to 1.11.2014, when Crimea got already included into the Russian Federation, nearly 50 people were killed in fire and clashes in Odessa, Malaysian boing was shot down and the conflict in the Eastern part of Ukraine got in its active and most violent phase. In total, the study covers two years, during which 480 news stories were sampled based on the tag words and numbers of shares and likes in social media. The frames of visual, auditory and text streams of the sampled units were analysed to explore the process of transformation of images: from brother nation to enemy. The data revealed that during a pre-conflict period an average Ukrainian was portrayed mostly in a positive way, the negative tones were given only to the Ukrainian government (Yanukovych’s team). The news pinpointed the fallacy of the government’s state-building aspirations and thus portrayed the Ukrainian nation as dependent and inferior ‘brother’. The findings showed that after EuroMaindan started, Channel One changed the way average Ukrainians were framed and formed the image of threatening Other that specifically appealed to the cultural and spiritual values of its audience. The references to the World War II and the theme of fascism were used to develop the image of enemy into an appealing and threatening construction.
Presents in panel 5A
A Portrait of the Workers against the Backdrop of the Soviet Union Falling Apart
The coal miners’ strikes of 1989 and 1991 in the Soviet Union have received attention from scholars in the country and abroad mostly in the 1990s. Two interpretations of the strikes emerged out of their analyses. One of them, which is also widely shared beyond the scholarly community, maintains that over a short period of time the miners’ movement has been progressively politicized. Another interpretation is based on evidence that the demands of the rank and file have always been focused on economic issues while the politicization happened to the leaders of the movement; who were then able to impose their political views on the entire movement. In my presentation, I suggest another approach to the strikes and argue that our understanding of them would remain incomplete unless we consider these events in their proper historical and discursive contexts, which were different for the two waves of strikes – in 1989 and in 1991. To restore these contexts and reconsider the strikes within them, I explore a number of issues of the All-Union daily, Izvestiia, and weekly, Literaturnaia Gazeta, as well as a Belorussian daily, Sovetskaia Belorussiia.
The outcome of my analysis is twofold. I restore the historical and discursive contexts of the time and demonstrate their joint effect on the miners’ contradictory demands. From this contextualization, the wave of 1989 strikes emerges as a proto-class struggle played out within the peculiar socio-political conditions of Soviet society; while the strikes of 1991 appear as a result of the classical merge of the workers’ movement with that of intellectuals and politicians’ who at that time inclined toward neo-liberalism.
Presents in panel 2J
Skopje 1918: Witness Accounts from the Army of the Orient
In 1918 The Army of the Orient diverted troops to Macedonian territory in order to move northward and aid the Serbian army. This was a two-pronged offensive, the French and Serbian forces pushed north towards Belgrade via Skopje, the British and Greek troops turned east to Lake Dojran and Bulgaria. In mid-September 1918 the army launched a major offensive along the Skopje heights. The French and Serbian forces overtook Skopje and on September 29th the Bulgarians signed an armistice. The soldiers of the Army of the Orient stationed in Skopje in 1918 sent postcards home to family. The postcards cited in this paper—many from a special hand-painted series published by “Vardar” — were written by soldiers stationed in Skopje that summer and fall of 1918 who participated in the Vardar offensive. The postcards were collected by the soldiers, some explicitly remarking to family members that they planned to send different cards in the series for their relatives to collect and save. The soldiers write about a changing city, a city transformed with the retreat of the Ottomans following the Balkan Wars of 1912-1913. They comment on shifting identities, labeling the local population Turkish, Serbian, or Macedonian. They write about the Spanish flu.
This paper illuminates a city undergoing post-Ottoman transition as seen through the witness accounts of the French soldiers’ postcards sent from the front in Skopje which add an important dimension to our understanding of witness accounts of the Vardar campaign and the shift from Ottoman to Serbian control of the city and the shifting identities of the local population.
Presents in panel 2C
Youth in the metro: mobility, control, resistance and everyday production of the citizen
This presentation focuses on the everyday experience of young people, living in St. Petersburg and using the metro - a crucial urban technology that forms mundane mobility of citizens and the citizens themselves. This case is based on the ethnographic data that include observations in the metro and interviews with young people (24 interviews in total). It was implemented in the frame of International project Digital Youth in the Media City, supported by Kone Foundation.
The metro in Russia is the highly controlled space (the turnstiles, the metal frames and checkpoints, security guards and police, audio instructions and prohibitions, etc.). Thus, the control system simultaneously produces the sense of safety and reminds, visualizes the risks of the metro, in particular, through producing of the figure of ‘dangerous passenger’. Besides, encounters with technology and other metro users sets the bodily experience, structures schedule and rhythms, connects different locations and makes visible the social differentiations within the modern city. This study answers questions about how young people use the metro and how this technology shapes their age, gender and other identities, how it produces the contemporary citizens by controlling their mobility, bodies, emotions, etc. And how they resist this control, which competences they develop for this. Young people consider the metro as a transit place, however, in some situations the metro can become the workplace, hideout, playground and etc. Young passenger demonstrates different skills of using the metro as a technology as well as competency of how spend time in the metro, manage the emotions, overcome the digital "porosity" of the city, build distance and keep privacy.
Presents in panel 2I