PhD Projects

Siberian Technologies of Movement and Transportation in the Era of Climate Change

Duration: 2020-2024

Project leader: Anastasia Ulturgasheva | PhD candidate

The project will examine how the current dynamic of climate change is understood from the lens of sociality that relies on symmetric entanglement of human and non-human. The study will focus on how in the Siberia indigenous environmental knowledge with a complex network of materially-grounded techniques of mobility and connection are employed to devise human adaptation strategies. The project aims to document existing technologies of transportation and emerging movement patterns that have been utilised and developed by reindeer herders in response to climate change and environmental hazards induced by large-scale extraction of natural resources.

Human-plant relations in Dokšycy district of Viciebsk region, Belarus: knowledge, practice and affect

Duration: 2020-2024

Project leader: Aliaksandra Shrubok | PhD candidate

This project aims to expanding our knowledge of human-plant relationship in the post-soviet scenario. Aliaksandra uses the case study of rural area of Dokšycy district of Viciebsk region, in Belarus – the region that has one of the highest rates of population reductions in the country, where the majority of dwellers are older ladies who often live alone – to analyze hands-on experience of interaction with local flora and ornamental plants. The research seeks to examine how plants are thought and approached, what affects are associated with them, and what is their role in sustaining lifeways of the research partners.

Constellations of Russian National Identity and Media Ecology: Mapping Russian Digital Nationalism and Patriotism

Duration: 2019-2023

Project leader: Alexandra Brankova | PhD candidate

Digital platforms and technologies have provided a high degree of visibility and multimodality for nationalist organisations and their imaginaries. Russian state actors have also utilised digital platforms for engagement and communication with Russian youth. The research project focuses on mid-level actors as intermediaries between individuals and state structures and assesses their competing notions of Russian national identity through discourse, hyperconnectivity, and communication practices. Theoretically, the study is situated in the cultural and discursive turn of nationalism theories, media ecology, and critical discourse studies. It adopts a mixed-methods approach where natively digital methods are combined with quantitative and qualitative approaches for capturing the complexity of new media environments.

Digital Tortuga: Civic Cultures of File-Sharing Practices in Russia and Ukraine

Duration: 2019-2023

Project leader: Kateryna Boyko | PhD candidate

P2P file-sharing has been in focus of many studies, often in the context of copyright and resistance to it. However, there is evidence that it is also conducive of civic, community and identity-oriented action far beyond the plethora of copyright issues. The study explores civic cultures of file-sharing practices in Ukraine and Russia. It is anchored in media practice research paradigm and interested in conjunctions and interplays between civic practices and file-sharing practices, in how and under what conditions file-sharing can become embedded in the civic context. This study has an ethnographic approach and will explore empirical material accumulated mainly from in-depth interviews with users and observation of the two biggest torrent-trackers in Ukraine and Russia.

The reception of Russia’s strategic narratives among young Russian speakers in the Baltic states

Duration 2019-2023

Project leader: Emma Rönngren | PhD candidate

Many Russian speakers in Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania often rely on Russian media channels for news and both Western observers and policymakers seem to assume that Russian media campaigns have a significant impact on Russian speakers in the Baltic states. But, whether and to what extent this is actually the case remains underexplored. This project qualitatively explores how young Russian speakers in the Baltic countries perceive and make sense of strategic narratives embedded in Russian state sponsored media and how they become part of a broader media repertoire by target audiences.

Russian Orthodox Arguments Regarding Abortion and Assisted Reproductive Technologies in the 21st Century

Duration: 2019-2023

Project leader: Caroline Hill | PhD candidate

This study examines arguments made by clerics and others affiliated with the Russian Orthodox Church regarding the following issues: abortion and assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs), namely in-vitro fertilization and surrogacy. Morality policy typologies and framing theory are employed in qualitative and quantitative analyses of secular and Russian Orthodox online media sources and interviews with clerics, activists, and experts involved in debates over access to abortion and ARTs. By doing so, this project seeks to shed light on the use of religious and secular argumentation in a country where the visibility of the Church in the post-Soviet public sphere is high, but the impact of forced secularization on public morals remains profound.

Compliance with Judgments of the European Court of Human Rights and Domestic Change in Post-Soviet States

Duration: 2013-ongoing

Project leader: Ausra Padskocimaite | PhD candidate

The European Court of Human Rights is often described as one of the most successful international courts. Since 1959 it has delivered around 18,000 judgments against member states of the Council of Europe, which have a legal obligation to comply with the judgments of the Court. As evidenced by the case law of the ECtHR, the execution of judgments involves implementation of individual and general measures, directed at repairing the harm suffered by the applicant and preventing similar violations from occurring in the future. Although many important legislative and policy changes have taken place following the rulings of the Court, today judgment compliance constitutes one of the main challenges facing the European human rights system. In my PhD dissertation in public international law, I am studying compliance with and impact of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights on post-Soviet states’ domestic legal systems as well as the protection of human rights. The thesis, which consists of a number of article deals with different aspects of this problem, such as the role of national constitutional courts in enforcing judgments of the ECtHR and the (non)execution of specific judgments. The thesis focuses on Russia, Lithuania and Ukraine.