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

Eeva Korteniemi
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aleksanteri-fellows [at]

Aleksanteri Institute
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Location & Connections


Visiting Fellows 2015-2016

Madeleine Reeves, University of Manchester, UK  

“Near Abroad: An Ethnography of Labour, Law and Hope in Migrant Moscow”
(mid-February-mid-April and May 2016)

Madeleine Reeves is a Lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of Manchester and Associate Editor of Central Asian Survey. She received her BA and PhD from the University of Cambridge and an MA from the University of Chicago. Her research explores the way in which state space and state categories (of legal and illegal residence; of citizen and non-citizen; of ‘titular’ ethnic group and national minority) are produced and ruptured in everyday life. Her doctoral research explored the everyday work entailed in ‘bordering’ the state in two regions of the Ferghana valley where everyday life has come to be transformed by the materialisation of new international boundaries. This has been published as Border Work: Spatial Lives of the State in Rural Central Asia (Cornell University Press, 2014), which was awarded the 2015 Joseph Rothschild Prize of the ASN. Her post-doctoral research, published in Slavic Review, Central Asian Survey, Neprikosnovennyi zapas and American Ethnologist has explored moral reasoning around family absence in the context of protracted out-migration for work in rural Kyrgyzstan, the role of remittances in sustaining ritual economies, and the experience of Kyrgyzstani migrant workers in navigating the Russian migration bureaucracy. She is the editor of Movement, Power and Place in Central Asia: Contested Trajectories (Routledge, 2012) and the co-editor, with Johan Rasanayagam and Judith Beyer of Ethnographies of the State in Central Asia: Performing Politics.


Short description of ongoing research:
At the Aleksanteri Institute, Madeleine Reeves will begin work on a book project entitled Near Abroad: Labour, Law and Hope in Migrant Moscow that will synthesise and extend her earlier research on labour migration from Central Asia to Russia. This project will incorporate an analysis of earlier field materials, interview recordings and a household survey conducted in 2009-10, together with follow-up study of the changing legislative environment regulating legal entry, employment and residency in Russia for Central Asian migrant workers since 2010.  The project is situated within debates at the intersection of social anthropology and critical legal studies around the everyday navigation of statecraft and bureaucracy. It attends to the ethical and affective dimensions of  transnational family life  on the one hand, and the ways that individual documentary strategies and family aspirations are shaped by encounters within the legal “grey spaces” of the Russian migration bureaucracy on the other.  As well as contributing to a broader comparative literature on aspiration, risk, and temporal reasoning in contexts of irregular migration, the project highlights the way that inconsistencies within the Russian migration regime (for instance, between federal and city legislation; between an “open doors” no-visa regime and a highly restrictive quota system for legal labour) generate spaces of legal and institutional ambiguity that serve at once to irregularise migrant workers and to create opportunities for creative concealment and the brokering of documentary legibility

Email: Madeleine.Reeves [at]

Academic hosts at the Aleksanteri Institute: Kaarina Aitamurto and Freek van der Vet