Director of the Visiting Fellows Programme
Anna Korhonen
Head of International Affairs
tel. +358-(0)50-563 63 07

Eeva Korteniemi
tel. +358-(0)50-4150 571

aleksanteri-fellows [at]

Aleksanteri Institute
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FI-00014 University of Helsinki

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Location & Connections


Visiting Fellows 2013-2014

Svetlana Stephenson, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, London
Metropolitan University, UK

“In the Shadow of the State. Street Societies in Russia”
(August-September 2013)

Dr Svetlana Stephenson is a Reader in Sociology at London Metropolitan University. She has worked at the Russian Centre for Public Opinion Research (Levada centre), and as Leverhulme Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Essex. She holds a Candidate of Sociology degree from the Institute of Sociology, the Russian Academy of Sciences. She is the author of Crossing the Line. Vagrancy, Homelessness and Social Displacement in Russia, Ashgate, 2006. In 2012 she co-edited a book on Youth and Social Change in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union,  Routledge. Her research has been published in Radical Philosophy, Criminal Justice Matters, Journal of Youth Studies, The Sociological Review, Europe-Asia Studies, International Journal of Comparative Sociology, Slavic Review, Social Justice Research and Work, Employment and Society, among others. Her research has involved studying disadvantaged social groups in Russia and their social organisation (street children and adult homeless people, youth gangs, child labourers and sex workers), as well as perceptions of social justice and human rights in a comparative context. 

Abstract of current research:
Svetlana is currently working on a book on criminal gangs and street social organisations in Russia. The book looks at the historical foundations of street social orders and at collective self-production of non-violent, violent and criminal groups. The evolution of street groups in Russia in certain historical periods is analysed as part of the order-building project at the macro and micro levels, when a group or a network can strive to create governance from below, resolve the uncertainties and threats arising from endogenous and exogenous violence and find opportunities for collective self-reproduction. In so doing, some of the groups develop regimes of mutual accommodation with other power agents in the outside world. The book approaches the members of these groups not as displaced individuals, struggling to navigate social chaos, but as purposeful agents looking to re-place themselves in social structure and build legible social order at the margins of society. The book is predominantly based on the analysis of qualitative in-depth interviews with members of various violent and non-violent street networks and groups, and experts from NGOs, the police, local and central authorities in Moscow and Kazan.

During her fellowship at the Aleksanteri Institute in August and September 2013 Svetlana will work on the theoretical chapter of her book.

Email: s.stephenson[at]

Academic hosts at the Aleksanteri Institute: Meri Kulmala and Kaarina Aitamurto