Research Projects

Russian WomenRussian Women as Immigrants in Norden - Finland, Norway, Sweden:
Gender Perspectives on Everyday Life, Citizenship and Social Justice

The project is a multidisciplinary and comparative inquiry concerning the life of Russian women who are immigrants in the Nordic Barents region, i.e. the northernmost parts of Finland, Norway and Sweden, which is facing globalisation, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the consequent turbulent transformations of the East-West divide. In the centre of attention will be Russian women’s experiences of immigration as ´Others´ and the de- and reconstruction of their individual and collective identities towards transculturalism, which will be discussed in the framework of the tensions between the modern vs. postmodern epistemologies concerning structures, culture and agency. In more concrete terms, the key problematics will be approached by concentrating on three topical theoretical issues and concrete problems that are both distinct and intertwined around violence against women in its multiple forms, as follows:

1) everyday life as a problematic, especially in view of reproductive choice and combining work and family (Kerstin Hägg, sociology);
2) citizenship and participation, especially in view of experiences of gendered violence (Aino Saarinen, political science);
3) social justice and recognition, especially in view of discourses on prostitution (Jana Sverdjluk, social philosophy).

The project will also discuss gender asymmetries in Nordic/male - non-Nordic/female partnerships and their significance for gender relations in Norden as a whole. In the final instance, the project will provide insights into critical evaluations of the immigration and equality policies in the increasingly multicultural Barents region and Norden.

The data will consist of normative, quantitative and, to give voice to the immigrant women themselves, qualitative materials, as follows:

1) documents on discourses in media and on national (Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish) and international immigration and equality policies and some of the most relevant sets of specific norms, including human rights;
2) immigration statistics in the Nordic Barents and in Finland, Norway, Sweden;
3) thematic interviews a) of individual immigrant women and groups of immigrant women in the Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish Barents area and (for comparison in the capital areas of Helsinki, Oslo, Stockholm); b) of relevant public and civil society institutions at the local (Barents) and national levels. In addition, a reference group of Russian scholars will be formed to further develop methodologies of transversalism - the exchange of perspectives as a research practice for cross-border inquiries.

The RWN project is linked to the ongoing Nordic-NW.Russian development and research network titled NCRB – A Network for Crisis Centres in the Barents Region (I-II) 1999-2002; 2002-2005 and to the Femina Borealis – Women and Development in the North network active in Barents since 1993.

Aino Saarinen, DSocSc (Project Director)
Senior Researcher, Aleksanteri Institute, Helsinki University;
Docent, Department of Educational Sciences, Oulu University

Jana Sverdljuk, Cand.philol.
Researcher, NIKK - Nordic Institute for Women's Studies and Gender Research & Center for Women's Studies and Gender Research, University of Oslo
jana.sverdljuk [at]

Kerstin Hägg, PhD
Senior Lecturer, Department of Child and Youth Education, Umeå University
kerstin.hagg [at]


Funding for 2004-2007:
NOS-S, Joint Committee of the Nordic Social Science Research Council