Urban activism is a dynamic component of civil society in the Russian Federation but it is distinct from Western conceptions of both civic society and existing theories of urban revolution. The development and nature of civil society within Russia has taken on local characteristics that differentiate it from Western understandings and delimit different relationships to the state and policy process. Whereas in the West, civil society is considered as independent of the government, scholars argue that some aspects of civil society under Russia’s managed democracy is closely aligned with state agendas. However, there is growing evidence of civic organizations and networks emerging in Russia’s urban spaces to contest state policy, cultural norms and institutions, and give voice to labor demands and bridge the state-society divide.
This conference will frame a collective inquiry into the patterns of urban collective action by comparing social activism in different cities and different issue areas across the Russian Federation. It will focus on three clusters of inquiry: local identity politics, labor activism, housing and political engagement. It aims to attract interdisciplinary approaches to these issue areas from across the social sciences, including scholars from political science, geography, social theory, and anthropology.
The conference is led by Regina Smyth from IU’s Department of Political Science, Jeremy Morris from Aarhus University in Denmark, and Andrey Semenev from Russia’s Perm State University.
Indiana University Europe Gateway
CIEE Global Institute
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