1. Legitimacy, urban planning and sustainability in Russia and Sweden (LUPSRUSS)
Research fields: comparative urban studies; political theory, governance studies, urban and environmental studies, and citizen participation studies
Keywords: Russia, Sweden, legitimacy, urban planning, sustainability, functional variation
Funding: Swedish International Center for Local Democracy
Duration: 2017– 2018–
Researchers: Bo Petersson [Co-director], Derek Hutcheson [Co-director], Elena Trubina, Marina Nistotskaya, Lina Olsson, Anne Faurskov, Dmitrii Goncharov, Inessa Tarusina, Elena Tsumarova, Evgenia Likhovtseva, Anna Zamareva
The project seeks to examine the processes of urban planning in Sweden and Russia, with a focus on the input, control and output legitimacy of that process. Through paired comparison of different examples of urban planning, it will bring together scholars and practitioners from Scandinavia (primarily Sweden) and Russia. The focus will be on the politics and processes behind sustainable planning and development in a number of comparable regions for each country. It envisages two conferences in 2018 to examine these processes, with three themes that will focus on perspectives of governance studies, urban and environmental studies, and citizen participation studies. The project will also involve capacity-building, building on existing networks and fostering new ones between scholars and local government units in Sweden and Russia. (See details here: icld.se/en/article/legitimacy-urban-planning-and-sustainability-in-russia-and-sweden ).
2. Comparing the cities across the global regions: between the Global South and the Global East
Research fields: comparative urban studies; world regions studies, post-socialism studies, post-colonial studies
Keywords: Global North, Global South, Global East, Methodology of Comparison, Methodological Nationalism
Researchers: Elena Trubina, Fabio Galvis
Scholars of comparative urban studies (for example, McFarlane, 2010; Nijman, 2007; Ward, 2010; Cook and Ward, 2012) forward comparative analyses on diverse and different cities, which have not been traditionally registered on the map of modern urban theory and, analytically, are very distant from each other. The location of the urban scale, as a level of analysis, between several scales, complicates comparative work immensely because several scales of analysis currently undergo intense methodological scrutiny (for example, in the framework of critique of methodological nationalism (Amelina et al., 2012; Chernilo, 2006). Based on fieldwork conducted in Medellin (Colombia) and in several Russian cities, this project envisions a prospective comparative study of] “closed contexts” across global regions. “Close contexts” is the term used first, to refer to empirical research in difficult, including authoritarian, settings (Koch, 2013) and second, acknowledging that “there are many ways of assembling contexts and holding them together” (Law and Moser, 2010, p. 348). An initial observation is that both countries share a common context. As both countries work on fixing images, they also eventually improve the highly problematic national images. Both countries also oscillate between closure and openness — between coping with stigmatization and attempts to establish alternative images (of the countries and the places). Both in Colombia and Russia, the spectacular urban projects are variously used to augment the legitimacy of the governments. Accordingly, the question I pose in this project is as follows: how the cities, belonging to different world regions, can be compared?
3. Mega-events: the scales of legitimacy
Research fields: urban studies; organization studies, cities and public policy
Keywords: Multiscalarity, Project management, Mega-events, Nationalism, Legitimacy
Researchers: Elena Trubina
This project aims to connect governing state-funded mega-events and the need to maintain legitimacy and gain support of stakeholders. The politics of legitimacy (central to international relations) looms large in the organization of mega-events, whether it comes to attempts to gain more international prestige or to impress a domestic audience. Part of the popularity of sporting mega-events has to do with the state’s recognition of international sports organizations and, indeed, sport itself as legitimate entities. For this reason, governments tend to associate themselves with sports to invoke national identity with the legitimacy of its symbols. The project assesses the utility of the theories of legitimacy in relation to Russia’s hosting the international summits and the mega-events and identifies the specific multi-scalar legitimating procedures employed by the international organizations and the central government. This study examines the ways in which fundamental international tendencies (uneven scalar relations, the power of transnational corporations and organizations, the political use of sport) and economic forces emerge to be visible locally through events in particular contexts. As such, the current work advocates that the urban transformations need to be considered together with the complex multi-scalar configuration of international and national interests, which are rhetorically invoked and structurally implemented in course of the mega-events.
4. Sanctions urbanism: “crisis-talk” and “stagnation machines” in the context of international and domestic politics
Research fields: urban studies; urban geopolitics, crisis studies, food geographies
Keywords: Multiscalarity, Cities, Economic coercion, Consumption, Crisis, Discourses
Researchers: Elena Trubina
If the impact of the 2008 global economic crisis on cities has been described as “austerity urbanism” (Peck, 2012), this project is devoted to sanctions urbanism, that is the specific configuration of the multi-scalar interests that mark today’s urban politics in Russia. The project’s aim is two-fold: first, aims to compare the urban impact of the economic sanctions as policy tools in international politics in Russia and elsewhere; and second, to make sense of many crisis-imbued and sanctions-informed readings and interpretations of failures of urban policies, income gap, elections, bankruptcies, conservatism, etc. from selected respondents and in the relevant literature.
5. Creative industries in the neo-patrimonial states: culture as resource and inspiration
Research fields: urban studies; cultural studies, conservatism studies, crisis studies, cultural geography
Keywords: cultural projects, creative industries, culture as resource, center vs, provinces, uneven development, discourses
Researchers: Elena Trubina, Tatyana Kruglova, Natalya Gramatchikova, Aireen Andal, Lisa Korepanova, Anna Dyakova
The project examines various cultural events and projects in the last decade, which become the exemplars in the creative industries’ narratives, to be told and retold in regional administration offices, public gatherings and museums, to foster a collective associations and shared referents by the local community. The kinds of ‘creative’ narrative that tend to resonate with the local community necessitates simplicity to espouse accessibility and wider comprehension. The stories can be internalized by urban dwellers in different ways—on one hand, they tend to be stories that make urban citizens feel good about themselves—that they are being entertained in ways which are popular in the world, thus giving them a sense of dignity and importance; but the same time, these stories (and the strategies that they encompass rhetorically) also tend to downplay or even entirely ignore unpleasant economic and social facts. Many cities opt to capitalize on culture by investing into a team of external cultural players and their activities. The project explores continuity and transformation in the urban and regional cultural policies through an analysis of the creative industries policy discourses, discursive positions developed by policy actors and argue that the institutional policy frameworks which includes the creative industries discourse worked as ‘quick fix’ (Quinn, 2005) for the city problems. To be fair to the bottom-up dimensions of the cultural projects, the project juxtaposes the current context to the on-going neoconservative backlash worldwide and the special periods in urban history which have been marked by the attempts to creatively reinvent this or that city. These will occupy an important place in the memory of city inhabitants testifying to a possibility of “other” dimension of common life. At the time when globalizing and de-globalizing tendencies clash with urban and federal policies, the knowledge about the achievements and shortcomings of the novel collaborations between the authorities, cultural intermediaries, and the local community comprises a valuable asset.
6. Infrastructures of mobility and sedentarism
Research fields: urban studies; mobility studies, infrastructure studies, urban geopolitics
Keywords: Multiscalarity, Cities, Economic coercion, Consumption, Crisis, Discourses
Researchers: Elena Trubina, Diana Satybaldina
How the concepts, theories and metaphors that characterize the (im)mobilities of contemporary social life (movement, flux, flow, travel, intensity) are linked to the frameworks to understand the nexus between government and infrastructure in the past few decades? While scholars of infrastructure endeavor on connecting “the spatiality of injustice [with] the injustice of spatiality” (Dikec¸ , 2001: 1792), this project argues that it makes sense to investigate how people’s understanding of injustice intersects with their multiple deprivations, including the challenges on mobility and immobility and how their infrastructure-related experiences crystallize in their thoughts about social and political order. The project looks at the center-periphery relations through lenses of uneven development and employs the concepts outlined in the framework of the mobilities turn to provide first-hand data that make sense of the narratives and judgments in which infrastructures (transport as well as the ones of organizations and knowledge) become a developer (as in photography processing) of social experiences and political frustrations.
7. Problematizing the epistemological privileges: disciplinary knowledge and its discontents
Research fields: urban studies; interdisciplinary studies, urban anthropology, urban geography
Ключевые слова: Interdisciplinarity, Urban Anthropology, Cities, Urban disciplines, Epistemological privileges
Исследователи: Elena Trubina
The expansionist ambitions and, more generally, power struggle between scholarly disciplines comprise the modus operandi of the higher educational system. Based on the popular motto “City is everyone’s field”, the project seeks to demonstrate the paradoxes involved in negotiating boundaries between the “urban” disciplines. The project traces the history of emergence, institutionalization and today’s situation of urban anthropology and demonstrates close links among sociological and anthropological origins of the subdiscipline, which have led to a feeble identity as a discipline and lack of its current self-understanding, the renown leaders and perspectives. The case of urban anthropology and its problematic institutionalization testifies to the importance of interdisciplinary studies of the city and its inhabitants.
Created / Updated: 5 March 2018 / 5 May 2018