This page contains the names, abstracts and panel information for 18th annual Aleksanteri Conference participants with surnames beginning with letters O to P. Please see speakers A — D, E — H, I — K, L — N, R— S and T — Ö on respective pages. Note also, that panels and roundtables covered by a single abstract are listed separately.
Speakers O — P
The Role of Labor Protest in the Dialog between State and Society in Russia
The paper examines the institutional role of organized labor protest in the policymaking process in Russia by using the case of the recent splash in organized popular protests caused by the government’s decision to increase the pension age. The focus is made on the role of trade unions in organizing and leading the anti-reform protests. Using the perspective of industrial relations and the model of political exchange, the paper seeks to explain why organized protests led by trade unions have little capacity to affect social policy in Russia.
Youth cultures in contemporary Russia: contexts, dynamics, concepts
The focus of the paper are the features of the formation and development of youth cultural spaces in Russia, from the late Soviet period to the latest. The central aim is to show the uniqueness of the Russian case of the involvement of young people in global cultural trends. There is significant, and sometimes radical, regroupings both within particular youth communities and (sub)cultural groups, and between them and the mainstream youth associations. There is special Russian context of permanent transformations within last 25 years which affected all aspects of the life of Russian residents: economic, socio-political and socio-cultural. This context played crucial role in the emergence of “new types” of youth activities to some extent still correlated with the global youth formations of this time. Rapid changes of 1990s followed by slowing down and stagnation, after the boom of the informal activity we observed the emergence of the new political projects of five-year "youth construction" and marches of Nashi and Russian nationalists, the glasnost’ and refusal of censorship followed by the return to prohibitions of disloyal cultural products and Soviet practices of ideological cleansing. Youth activities of the "new type" almost from the very beginning, albeit in different proportions, were combined the ideas/practices of the youth subcultural riots and the remnants of formal youth associations of the Soviet era. A complete release from the birthmarks of Soviet sociality, despite the change of generations, did not happen. The presentation will be based on the empirical studies of the various youth cultural spaces that have been carried out by the Centre for youth studies (HSE). The concepts of youth solidarities and youth cultural scenes are used to analyze the dynamics of youth cultural activities.
Presents in panel 2I
Constructing non-conventional gender and sexuality in the practices of urban LGBT-scene
During the last years, aggressive promotion of a conservative ideology in Russia has increased dramatically. LGBTQI people are pushed out of the public sphere. The critical discussion of "different" gender and sexual identities in the mass media leads to the impossibility of public speaking.
Using the “scene approach” for analysis of youth activities, researchers pay attention not only to actors and practices within the scene but also to space where interactions occur or not, thereby adding a new dimension to the study.
Hence, the scene itself can be perceived as something homogeneous and uniform. This way can have a negative impact on the image of the community. Based on it, this group of people becomes invisible. However, the growing interest in feminism in the media discourse and in online-communities is becoming more influential.
Young people of Saint-Petersburg involved in activities against discrimination based on gender and sexuality are studied in this project. To understand the significance of identity in building social relations within the scene gender-based, sexual and other identities. The participants represent a decentralized, informal social movement, interacting in a flexible communication network. LGBTQI people are fighting against gender-based discrimination by organizing protests, educational projects, festivals and other activities.
The LGBTQI scene is a heterogeneous space of the various organizations, initiatives and places. LGBTQI activists evaluate their effectiveness in different ways, depending on the goals and methods of action. The discussion of these topics reveals weak points, for example, risks and security of activism, power and solidarity within the scene, the inclusion, and exclusion of participants in the scene.
At present, empirical data based on 14 in-depth interviews with LGBTQI and 16 days of participant observation in Saint-Petersburg. This research is carried out by a research team from the Centre for Youth Studies HSE in Saint-Petersburg.
Presents in panel 7A
The idea of "fullness of life" in the today's discourse of Russian parents (on the example of interviews about children's video games)
The paper is devoted to analysis of parents’ beliefs about children’s video games in contemporary Russia. Today in the big cities almost every family has gadgets allowing playing video games. The number of playing children has increased dramatically. Video games change everyday life of families in unpredictable way. The strategies of prohibition or permission computer games, that parents use, rely on different background beliefs. Research of such beliefs as well as values they base on is of great scientific interest.
We have conducted a primary analysis of observation diaries and semi-structured interviews with parents whose children play video games, as well as with parents whose children do not engage in video gaming for a variety of reasons. Interviews were conducted in 2016-2017 in St. Petersburg. The parents with different social characteristics were included in this research.
According to our results parental attitudes to prohibit or to permit children video gaming are based on two main ideas. The first one we can name as the idea of «fullness of life», and the second - as the idea of «quality of life». The idea about the fullness of life is grounded on the view of the world, when the main value is a variety of activities, eventful saturation of life. The idea of quality of life, in contrast, is grounded on the value of the in-depth development of activities, which is evaluated as important, meaningful. As our analysis has shown, russian parents use both strategies of argumentation in substantiation of both permission and prohibition of children’s video games activity. Interestingly, that identified ideas are not mixed with each other. We can assume, that the idea of quality of life reproduces the Soviet attitudes.
This paper is co-authored with Elena Bogomiagkova.
Presents in panel 6H
The impact of armed conflict on changing the perception of the country: the case of Ukraine
The conflict in eastern Ukraine generated a multiple increase of the country's share in the global media, which has now returned to its status from before 2014. Studies based on the project about the perception of Europe carried out in several European cities in 2005-2007 and again in 2016-2018 (n = 1500, age 16-19) allowed to answer the question whether the increased interest in Ukraine in the context of military conflict affected its stronger perception as a European state and to what extent it has shifted into better recognition of the country as a part of Europe. An analysis of Europe's sketch maps as well as answers to questions about the broadly defined European space (PAPI) give an answer to the question about the impact of war on the perception of the country from various European perspectives.
Presents in panel 7I
Russian Eurasianism, the Moscow-Beijing Axis, and the Future of International Order
Following Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its intervention in the Donbass, Moscow’s declared “pivot to the east” gained momentum. Visions for a “Greater Eurasia” have been put forward, rekindling to a certain extent the Eurasianism of centuries past. However, Russia’s failure to integrate Ukraine into the Eurasian Economic Union, much like the Soviet Union’s loss of the Ukrainian SSR in 1991, casts doubt on Russia’s ability to craft an institution that can serve as a major global bloc. This, according to many analysts, is part of the rationale behind what is drawing Russia into China’s economic (and perhaps, in the decades ahead, political) orbit. How is this newly emerging alignment affecting the future of international order? On what foundations does the fledgling Moscow-Beijing axis rest, and who is verily calling the shots? To what extent do Russia’s and China’s respective conceptions of international order differ from each other, and what consequences does this bode for the future of Moscow’s and Beijing’s respective relations with Western states? Using English School concepts, including a model that attempts to explain how change occurs in international order, these and other related subjects will be explored, with the intention of theorizing how and to what extent Moscow and Beijing can bring about change in contemporary international society.
Presents in panel 6J
Doing family, gender and sexuality online in contemporary Russia
The significance of the research topic is determined by the latest trends in the public manifestation and legitimization of various forms of sexual behavior and attitudes, especially among the various groups of Russian youth, in the context of the processes of liberalization and democratization of sexual culture in modern Russia. Differentiation of gender, romantic and sexual behavior of Russian youth happens due to the heterogeneity of this socio-demographic group, the diversity and polarization of life styles, subcultural diversity, also in the sphere of intimate and family relations. Virtualization of private life in the context of the active dissemination of new information and communication technologies in Russian society determines the need to analyze the family, gender and sexual attitudes and practices of representatives of the current generation of youth in the communicative space of the Internet, forecasting online risks and threats. The research question is how do modern young people create families, maintain romantic relationships, and realize their own sexuality online? How does private life (norms, values, practices and even institutions) transform in the process of informatization of Russian society, the spread of the Internet?
To answer the questions, we conducted an empirical study - qualitative and quantitative analysis of Internet resources (dating sites, specialized blogs, forums) - for the purpose of complex description and interpretation of the communicative landscape of the Internet: resources, agents, technologies, through which modern young men and women create families, develop romantic relationships, manifest their own sexuality. Sociological analysis of the family, marriage, gender and sexuality in the context of modern social transformations, particularly under the influence of the process of informatization of society, was carried out on the basis of modern classical works by E. Giddens, U. Beck, Z. Bauman and M. Castells. Based on the analysis of the collected data, a descriptive model of the segment of the socio-communicative space of the Internet, related to the issues of the youth family, gender and sexuality in modern Russia, is constructed and presented.
Presents in panel 7A
Transnational religious identities and agency of Russian-speakers in Finland
This presentation analyses transnational religious way of life and movement of values among Russian-speakers living in Finland. It also explores what is the meaning of transnational connections for contributing to solidarity and social cohesion locally and between countries, especially between Finland, Russia and Estonia. International research has payed increasingly attention to immigrant religion as transnational phenomenon. However, it has been little studied in Finland and among the Russian-speakers.
The goal of my presentation is to analyze the meaning of transnational ontology and agency among the members of selected Russian-speaking worship communities in the Helsinki metropolitan area in Finland. The empirical data come from interviews of the Russian-speakers, and texts that their worship communities have produced, gathered between 2014 and 2018. Most of the studied worship communities were founded when Russian-speaking immigrants, mainly re-migrating Ingrian-Finns, started coming to Finland in the 1990s. Russian-speakers is the largest foreign-language group in Finland.
Presents in panel 7J
What Media Use Tells about Distinctions in Russia?
Various questions about media use has been asked in all-Russian surveys of 1998, 2007 and 2015. The aim of the paper is to focus on differences in media use and how they are related with classes and distinctions in contemporary Russia.
Television is the most important media and almost the whole population belongs to its audience, radio has smaller audience, newspapers were widely read still in 2007 survey, but in 2015 they were read at least once a week by only 42% of Russians. Magazines, read by 36% in 2015, have lost their readership less than newspapers. On the other hand, news sites were read on weekly basis by 49% of Russians and internet was used to read papers and magazines by 28%.
Regional, educational and class differences are clearly visible. Newspapers have lost readers especially in big cities and among less educated people. While newspaper reading is related closely (at least was in 2007) with political activity, magazine reading is related to cultural and consumer activity. Has this trend remained in 2015?
Radio has kept its audience on the level of 50% of Russians, while television has audience of over 95%. In addition to survey data also other data on popularity of different media will be used as material.
Magazines were important in forming middle class consumer orientation in 1990s and 2000s, but since 2010 they are in decline together with other media. The paper pays attention to different types of media use and reflects it with other social distinctions.
Presents in panel 6A