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Visiting Fellows 2012-2013



Elena Omel'chenko, Higher School of Economics, St Petersburg / Ul’ianovsk State University, Russia

“The youth question. Changing perspectives: from a subcultural to solidarity approach”
Fellowship period: April 15–May 15, 2013

Professor Elena Omel'chenko has graduated from Moscow State University (degree in Philosophy), and she has also completed her Doctorate at MGU. In 2005, she conferred the title of ‘Doctor of Sociology’ at Russian Academy of Sciences, Institute of Sociology (Moscow). She is the founder and leader of the Interdisciplinary Research Centre ‘Region’ at the Ulyanovsk State University. From 2009, she is Professor and Head of Department of Sociology, Higher School of Economics, St Petersburg and Director of the Centre for youth Studies at HSE. She is working mainly in the field of youth studies, but with very broad focus. She has publications on youth violence, youth drug abuse, ethnic and religious identities, gender issues and sexualities, migration, but her main sphere of interests are youth (sub)cultures. Her current projects explore generational formations, youth solidarities, patriotic moods of youth and influence of soviet past on young people.

Abstract of current research:
During her research fellowship at the Aleksanteri Institute, Professor Omel'chenko will work on a monograph on “The youth question. Changing perspectives: from a subcultural to solidarity approach”. The originality of the monograph is formed from a shift in research focus from internal group communication of different subcultural and ‘styled’ youth groups (consumer and cultural preferences, the character of corporeal performance, political orientation) to inter-group interaction in the context of city life. The aim of this particular monograph is to reveal and conceptualise a solidarity approach to researching the daily routine of young people, which allows us to depart from the rigid frameworks of the subcultural approach and to see a particular forging of new relationships between the different groups in the youth cultural scenes of Russian cities. The application of the concept of solidarity allows us to overcome these basic lines enquiry - tensions in inter-group communication over values and culture. Developing our approach allows us to emphasise, namely, the particular empathy and hostility within the youth spaces. The intensity of attraction and maintaining distance (tension within inter-group communication) allows us make judgements about key values and ideas around which symbolic battles unfold. In these fights is reflected an internal search for group or individual authenticity as a way (measure) of influencing discursive practices (of the government, politicians, the media) of individuals and groups as a whole. The empirical basis of the monograph consists of research material gathered between 2005 and 2012:"Subcultures and life styles project” (EU funded, lead by prof. H.Pilkington, 2005-2008); “Generation R? Youth in economic recession in comparative European perspective” (Program of fundamental studies, HSE, lead by prof. E.Omelchenko, 2009); “New youth social movements” (Program of fundamental studies, HSE, lead by prof. E.Omelchenko, 2010); “Youth solidarities in local and global contexts: economy, politics, culture” (Program of fundamental studies, HSE, lead by prof. E.Omelchenko, 2011); “Innovative potential of Russian youth: solidarities, activism and civic responsibility”(Program of fundamental studies, HSE, lead by prof. E.Omelchenko, 2012); “MYPLACE (Memory, youth, political legacy and civic engagement)” (FP7 project, lead by prof. H.Pilkington, 2011-2014).

Email: omelchenkoe [at]

Academic host at the Aleksanteri Institute: Jussi Lassila