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Anna Korhonen
Head of International Affairs
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Eeva Korteniemi
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aleksanteri-fellows [at] helsinki.fi

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FI-00014 University of Helsinki

aleksanteri [at] helsinki.fi
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Location & Connections

 

Visiting Fellows 2014-2015

Jeremy Morris, University of Birmingham, UK

"Russia’s Worthless Dowry? – An Ethnographic Study of the Blue-Collar Monotown"
(August - September 2014)

Biography:
Jeremy Morris (DPhil Sussex) is Senior Lecturer in Russian Studies and Co-Director of the Centre for Russian, European and Eurasian Studies at the University of Birmingham. His research interests include informal economy, class, precarity and postsocialism more generally. His current research is focused on ethnographic approaches to understanding ‘actually lived experience’ and personhood in the former Soviet Union. Before coming to Birmingham in 2005 he taught at Durham, Nottingham and Sussex.

With extensive in-country experience and knowledge of contemporary Russia, having lived and worked there in the 1990s, Jeremy’s research lies at the confluence of anthropology, sociology, area studies and cultural studies. He has recently received research funding to investigate the negotiation of worker identity under postsocialism (British Academy), and a Marie Curie grant looking at alternative approaches to development in the post-socialist region. His current research addresses two key debates in social research and area studies. It evaluates the transformative power of neoliberalism on the public and private identities of people in Russia and helps theorize this experience within the context of postsocialism and globalisation. Jeremy has recently published an edited book on informal economies in post-socialist countries and is completing a follow-up volume. In addition he has a monograph in preparation on everyday working-class life in Russia. His research has been published in Ethnography, European Urban and Regional Studies, and numerous other journals.

Abstract of current research:
For my Fellowship at Aleksanteri, I will complete work on the project: ‘Russia’s Worthless Dowry? – An Ethnographic Study of the Blue-Collar Monotown’. This is a book-length work of holistic, interdisciplinary social science representing every-day lived experience in an urban space and based on in-depth ethnographic research materials gathered since 2009. The project addresses a number of tensions in area studies and the scholarship on the region: the tendency for social science to focus on economistic issues at the expense of the wider meaning of lived experience (recent work in geography on post-socialist survival); the East as a lens that merely reflects western-centric concerns and norms (transition frames and democratization narratives); the privileging of western theory in the analysis of local ‘data’; academic agency and the role of western researchers as privileged bearers of knowledge about the region in English-speaking contexts. In each case my grounded ethnography and the indwelling of the researcher in material serves to draw attention to these ongoing tensions in scholarly work on Russia produced in the English-speaking world. The role of ethnography – giving voice to the researched and allowing the word of the researched to be generative of categories of analysis and theory, should be of interest to a wide scholarly audience.

Personal websites:
https://bham.academia.edu/JeremyMorris
http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/staff/profiles/russian/morris-jeremy.aspx

E-mail: j.b.morris [at] bham.ac.uk

Academic hosts at the Aleksanteri Institute: Meri Kulmala and Hanna Smith