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The Russian Field: Views from Abroad. Introduction

Опубликовано на портале: 22-07-2011
Laboratorium. Журнал социальных исследований. 2011.  № 1. С. 5-13. 
Introduction to a thematic issue on ethnographic approaches to contemporary Russia  by  foreign  researchers  from  a  variety  of  fields.  The  issue  is  based  on  a conference held in Saint Petersburg in 2009, itself modeled after a similar conference in Germany ten years earlier. Integrating the foreign gaze into one’s own self-image is a straightforwardly useful exercise for social scientists from Germany and Western countries that have a history of colonial or hegemonic control over countries from the Global South. In Russia, whose self-image was shaped by foreign observers from the beginnings of academic study, the experiment is more complicated. Nevertheless, foreign  ethnographers  can  contribute  useful  insights  qua  foreigners.  However,
Russia’s  alterity,  obvious  to  an  older  generation  of  Westerners  visiting  the  Soviet Union,  is  no  longer  a  matter  of  course  for  their  younger  colleagues  with  more transnational biographies.
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