Head of the Organising Committee
Sanna Turoma
sanna.turoma [at] helsinki.fi

Conference Coordinator
Kaarina Aitamurto
kaarina.aitamurto [at] helsinki.fi

Conference Secretary
Maarit Elo-Valente
maarit.elo-valente [at] helsinki.fi

Conference Intern
Miikka Piiroinen
miikka.piiroinen [at] helsinki.fi

Conference e-mail:
fcree-aleksconf [at] helsinki.fi

The Aleksanteri Institute

Unioninkatu 33 (P.O. Box 42)
00014 University of Helsinki
phone +358-(0)50-3565 802

aleksanteri [at] helsinki.fi


Past Aleksanteri Conferences

Esuna Dugarova (United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, Switzerland)

Elena Bogdanova (CISR, Russia / University of Eastern Finland)

Meri Kulmala (Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki, Finland) & Zhanna Chernova (Higher School of Economics, Russia)

The concept of family is one the key concepts in the social sciences and the family generally regarded as a major social institution. Today the modern family and family patterns have globally undergone significant transformations in their structure. The panel addresses the concept of the family and changes in it in contemporary Russia. The papers discuss the official ideology and articulations on the family, its role and functions through the analysis of the major national documents in the field of family policy. On the other hand, such official talk becomes juxtaposed with the concrete practices at the lower levels of action.

Dr. Esuna Dugarova's paper Family in a New Social Contract in Russia, Kazakhstan and Mongolia discusses how the concept of the family, the ideology of family support policy, along with families themselves, have changed in Russia, Kazakhstan and Mongolia since the Soviet Union collapsed. It points to a shift in the relationship between the state, society and family within the social contract over past years, which entails more family autonomy and involves the partnership between the state, family and other actors. The paper tackles with a dissonance between the state rhetoric of the importance of the family as a social institution on the one hand and the reality of its interventions to support the family on the other in the three countries, and investigates how this affects the institution of the family.

Dr. Elena Bogdanova's paper Contradictions of Family Care for Orphans in Contemporary Russia: a Case of Non-governmental Children discusses the recent state programs of orphan protection in Russia. Yet, she problematizes the conception of nuclear, heterosexual family through a case study of "SOS Children's Village" in Saint Petersburg, which follows the official state ideology though simultaneously challenging it. The case study aptly illustrates many contradictions and specificities in the current family policy in Russia, particularly in the sphere of orphan care.

Dr. Meri Kulmala's and Dr. Zhanna Chernova's joint paper Working Mothers: Work and Family Reconciliation in Contemporary Russia explores work and family reconciliation policies and practices in the 2000s of Russia as a part of wider family policy. From the early 2010s, there has been put more pressure to Russian employers to create family-friendly circumstances to their workers. The paper examines the related family policy programs as well as concrete family-friendly practices in Russian workplaces. The paper argues that most Russian employers do not provide support for their employees to help them to balance work and family life. The paper argues that the burden of work-family-balance is put on the shoulders of Russian women, i.e. mothers. For this reason, it is important that the national legislation to a certain extent guarantees women parental leaves and public day care. In practice, however, these legal rights are applied inadequately.