Первый год PhD. Как это было?

Первый год моего обучения на программе PhD по социологии в Манчестерском университете подошел к концу. Каким он был для меня? И как проходит обучение в английской аспирантуре? Постараюсь рассказать об этом.

Первое, с чем сталкивается PhD студент, приезжающий на учебу из другой страны, – это поиск жилья, улаживание бытовых проблем и знакомство с локальной инфраструктурой. На решение этих вопросов может потребоваться немало времени. Одним словом, первые месяцы уходят на адаптацию к жизни в новой среде. Лично у меня этот процесс занял два месяца. Параллельно с этим начинается посещение обязательных занятий в университете и взаимодействие с научными руководителями.

В первые два месяца мои научные руководители давали мне задания на написание коротких текстов, которые мы вместе разбирали на консультациях. Они заключались в том, чтобы прописать возможные стратегии исследования, сформулировать проблему, наметить теоретическую рамку. Однажды я получила задание нарисовать план-карту моего проекта с темой, ключевыми понятиями, исследовательскими вопросами, возможными вариантами мест сбора данных.

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Whitworth Hall Манчестерского университета

Наряду с выполнением заданий моих научных руководителей, я посещала занятия по академическому письму, развивая навыки написания научных текстов на английском. На первый взгляд может показаться, что писать по-английски просто, но когда сталкиваешься с созданием научного текста, то понимаешь, что это определенный жанр, требующий специфических навыков. Эти навыки заключаются в умении четко обосновывать свою позицию, распознавать аргументы других авторов и полемизировать с ними. Английское академическое письмо строится на силе аргумента.

Приобретению навыков строить аргументы способствует и обязательное для PhD студентов чтение научной литературы, которую условно можно разделить на три вида: классическая, новейшая, методологическая. При работе с научной литературой мне помогло составление конспекта и выписывание основных тезисов разных авторов, работающих в моей области.

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Кампус Манчестерского университета

После того, как мне удалось изучить необходимую литературу, я приступила к написанию литературного обзора, разработке исследовательского инструментария и составлению заявки на этическую комиссию. Этический комитет факультета или университета дает разрешение на проведение полевых работ. Последующие месяцы были посвящены более плотной работе над обзором литературы, обсуждению исследовательского дизайна с научными руководителями, созданию плана полевых работ, доработке текста обзора и укреплению аргументов.

В последних числах апреля у меня состоялась защита проекта, после чего начался этап полевых работ. 1-я фаза сбора данных проходила в Екатеринбурге, а 2-я фаза – в Москве. За год мне удалось развить навыки академического письма, расширить знания по современной литературе, познакомиться с рядом исследовательских методик, узнать, как устроен университет в Англии, и составить представление о ландшафте британской социологии. В целом, мой опыт прохождения первого года аспирантуры убедил меня в том, что PhD – это сложно, но в то же время интересно. Второй год обещает быть не менее насыщенным.

 

Уралмаш глазами рабочих

АфишаА4_лого_шрифт_3 copy.pngИсследовательская выставка «Уралмаш глазами рабочих» создана по мотивам социологического проекта «Быт и культура индустриальных рабочих: этнографическое кейс-стади заводского района, г. Екатеринбург».

В мае-июне 2017 года три социолога на время стали жителями Уралмаша. Мы проводили интервью с заводчанами и другими жителями района. Своей задачей мы видели описание культуры труда, быта и досуга индустриальных рабочих. Центральный вопрос, лежащий в основе нашего исследования и настоящей выставки, звучит так: “Как и чем сегодня живут заводчане?”

26 мая 2018 в 13:00 открытие выставки, the Beatles фестиваль, Уралмаш, Бульвар культуры 4
28 мая – 6 июня 2018 экспонирование выставки, Екатеринбургская академия современного искусства, Красных партизан 9, 2 этаж

Авторский коллектив выставки:

  • Александрина Ваньке – социолог, исследователь, куратор выставки
  • Елизавета Полухина – социолог, исследователь
  • Анна Стрельникова – социолог, исследователь
  • Александр Павлов – дизайнер

 

Russian Workers an ‘Invisible Class’ Since Collapse of Soviet Union, New Study Concludes

Text by: Paul Goble

Staunton, January 11 – Russians employed in factories have become “an invisible group” in society since 1991; and as a result, the identity even now is based largely on memories of the Soviet past as exacerbated by their sense of growing social inequality, according to a new study by the Higher School of Economics of workers at the Uralmash plant.

The study, prepared by Elizaveta Polukhina and Anna Strelnikova of the HSE and Alexandrina Vanke of the University of Manchester, notes that since the end of the Soviet Union, workers have received very little attention, including from sociologists and other scholars (iq.hse.ru/news/213569213.html).

This has left members of this group “lost” because they had been respected in Soviet times; but “in the 1990s everything changed completely.” They lost their former status in society and watched as their relative position in the income pyramid fell precipitously, the three researchers say.

Uralmash, set up in the northern section of Yekaterinburg in 1927 was a workers’ settlement based on a number of factories. It was one of dozens of such settlements in Soviet times. At present, more than 190,000 people live there, a number far lower than in the past. The HSE researchers conducted deep interviews with a number of the remaining workers.

These settlements, the sociologists say, were intended to provide everything the workers needed and to root them to one place. As such, they served as an important component of the Soviet system of control. But despite what many might think, many there now recall that arrangement as a positive thing.

Most of the workers now say they felt like “part of a large family,” one in which their days and even their lives were predictable and in which they could expect to be taken care of cradle to grave. They say they were proud to be “simple Soviet people,” a category that they defined more in ethical terms than in class ones.

For these workers, the collapse of the Soviet system as completely negative and remains so. And if they were quite happy to talk about the Soviet period, they were much more restrained in discussing the 1990s, the three sociologists say. For them, that period meant wage arrears, the loss of many fellow workers, and search for a new place in life.

The sociologists say that even now, workers at Uralmash view themselves as “innocent ‘victims of circumstances.’” As a result, “the contemporary identity of workers is a kind of mix which includes Soviet and post-Soviet practices, meanings and values,” but it still focuses on values rather than income alone.

“This doesn’t mean that class distinctions have disappeared entirely. To a large extent,” the three write, “identity is defined as a result of a sense of social stratification.” Workers don’t feel comfortable dealing with managers or owners and don’t have the same social cohesion they once had particularly as younger workers gain education and move away.

Read the orginal text here.

Transformation of Working-Class Identity in Post-Soviet Russia

We present the results of our group project The Everyday Life of Industrial Workers: Ethnographic Case-Study of Industrial Neighborhood in Yekaterinburg, conducted by me, Elizaveta Polukhina and Anna Strelnikova, in the working paper The Transformation of Working-Class Identity in Post-Soviet Russia: A Case-Study of an Ural Industrial Neighborhood.

Abstract

This paper presents an analytical description of working-class identity in three key periods of the socioeconomic transformations which changed the structure of a plant’s industry and working-class life: the Soviet era (1930s-1980s), the time of economical change (1990s), and the post-Soviet years (2000s-2010s). The analytical framework of the study is based on the concept of ‘cultural class analysis’ (Savage 2015). It includes the concepts of habitus and cultural capital, and culture as embedded in economic and social relations (Bourdieu 1980).

In the course of the research we conducted an ethnographic case-study in 2017 and lived in the neighborhood of Uralmash, which was designed for workers of a heavy machinery plant dating back to the 1920s in the city of Yekaterinburg. Based on 15 in-depth interviews with Uralmash workers living in the neighborhood and 8 experts, and our field observations, we discovered 3 restructuring shapes of the Uralmash worker identity. These working class identities shapes referred to 3 determined periods. The Soviet period showed a ‘consistent’ working-class identity of the Uralmash workers, whereby the plant and working spirits were the centers of their lives. The 1990s was marked by severe deterioration of workers’ social conditions and the loss of their familiar bearings in life. As a consequence, the Uralmash workers perceived themselves as ‘victims of circumstances’ with ‘collapsing’ worker identity in 1990s. Currently, ‘Soviet’ and ‘post-Soviet’ practices and values are combined in today’s ‘mixing’ and an inconsistent worker identity. The notions of ‘simple’ and ‘working-class’ as sense-making images are encapsulated in nostalgic memories and retain their role as criteria for the delineation between inequalities and social discrimination along the ‘them’ and ‘us’: ‘we are those who live belonging to the past’. The Soviet past still continues to be an important sense-making resource; in fact, it is the only ‘universal’ prop for them that support their subjective perception of themselves.

Keywords: Industrial Neighborhood, Worker, Working-Class Identity, Ethnographic Case-Study

Elizaveta, Polukhina and Strelnikova, Anna and Vanke, Alexandrina, The Transformation of Working-Class Identity in Post-Soviet Russia: A Case-Study of an Ural Industrial Neighborhood (November 22, 2017). Higher School of Economics Research Paper No. WP BRP 77/SOC/2017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3075749

Masculinities, Bodies and Subjectivities

A book Masculinity, Labour, and Neoliberalism. Working-Class Men in International Perspective edited by Charlie Walker and Steven Roberts with my contribution Masculinities, Bodies and Subjectivities: Working-Class Men Negotiating Russia’s Post-Soviet Gender Order has been finally published by Palgrave Mcmillan.

Abstract

This chapter considers the interrelation between masculinities, bodies and subjectivities of Russian working-class men generated by Russia’s post-Soviet gender order. The collapse of the Soviet Union led to large transformations in Russian society that changed its social structure significantly. During the period of transition, some social classes and groups, which had been sustained by the state and respected in Soviet times, were devalued and downshifted. Working-class people, especially men, experienced this downgrade in the greatest measure. Building on the approaches by Michel Foucault and Raewyn Connell, the chapter examines masculine subjectivities constituted through body and sexual practices of working-class men, and it explains the peculiarities of post-Soviet gender order reflecting Russia’s new forms of socioeconomic politics. The author defines several types of working-class masculinity, which are classic masculine subjectivity reproducing patterns of the Soviet gender order and trying to sustain a normative gender model; and new masculine subjectivity combining neoliberal and counter-neoliberal patterns which can be divided into consuming and protest masculinities.

Cite this chapter as: Vanke A. (2018) Masculinities, Bodies and Subjectivities: Working-Class Men Negotiating Russia’s Post-Soviet Gender Order. In: Walker C., Roberts S. (eds) Masculinity, Labour, and Neoliberalism. Global Masculinities. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham

How do social factors determine which music, fashions, trends, films etc become pop culture phenomena and which don’t?

My answer to the question “How do social factors determine which music, fashions, trends, films etc become pop culture phenomena and which don’t?” on the website TheQuestion UK


According to one sociological approach, music, films, books, clothes, and other cultural goods become popular among mass audiences through the mechanism of competitive struggle between various social groups.

The social groups that are important in the fields of fashion and culture production are those that possess a large amount of capital (in terms of Pierre Bourdieu),e.g.: economic capital, cultural capital, symbolic capital, etc.

These resource groups are made up of:
a) dominating classes (the elite, bourgeoisie),
b) producers of cultural products (designers, couturiers),
c) staff of fashion-papers (editors, journalists), and
d) other collective agents who set the fashionable styles.

Thus, popular culture is the result of the interplay between many agents and conventional consumers who are mostly represented by middle-class buyers, who in turn try to perform upward social mobility with the help of improving the appearance, consuming fashionable goods, reading popular literature, watching new films, etc.

However, through the exercise of these imitative practices, conventional consumers are only engaged in symbolic mobility, while their actual social positions remain the same. This means that in societies with a well-defined class structure, dominating classes, as well as agents with specific competencies from fashion and mass media industries, set the trends that are accepted by the ordinary public.

The SAGE Encyclopedia of War: Social Science Perspectives

51yc7abn0pl-_sx258_bo1204203200_The SAGE Encyclopedia of War: Social Science Perspectives with my entry Fear of War has finally been released.

Fear of War

The humanitarian scientific literature contains various approaches to fear. In social sciences, especially in psychology, fear is considered as an emotional feeling or an affective reaction associated with a real or imaginary threat. It may be caused by past traumatic experience sensed in the present, or projected onto future situations. In sociology, anthropology, and history of emotions, fear is perceived as a social construct that is embedded into a particular context and produced with the help of interpersonal interactions in daily life. Frequently, fear relates to risks and is cultivated through connections with potential threats. To this extent, it ispossible to talk about different human phobias such as fear of death, fear of pain, fear of violence, and fear of war.

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