Essays

Essays are selected scholarly articles published without prior peer-review process.

Gone Missing Books and their owners in the siege of Leningrad

The book lovers, collectors, and dealers of the siege were moving antiquarian books on strollers and sleds, as they had done with dead bodies several months earlier, thus reorganizing the devastated spaces of the changed city. From the “vacant” apartments of missing people, books that materially represented material and symbolic values of the past were running through — and up against — a new reality, a contact or collision that engendered new forms of inquiry and of collaboration between past and present

Essay by Polina Barskova November 21, 2019

Cross or Crossroads Will there be a 'quiet revolution' in Poland?

With the recent screening of a feature film and a documentary depicting corruption and sexual abuse by priests in Poland, issues that were previously taboo are now being aired in public. What effect, if any, will they have on the powerful position of the Church in Poland? This article looks first at how scandals have challenged the massive authority of the Church in another conservative and Catholic country, Ireland. It asks whether there are sufficient points of similarity between the two countries and their political predicaments for the Irish experience to act as a guide for the Polish situation.

Essay by Brendan Humphreys November 21, 2019

Entrepreneurship in the Stockholm Archipelago A historical perspective

A cursory reading of the literature describing yesterdays’ societies in the Stockholm Archipelago tells us that people in the archipelago heavily relied on fishing and small-scale farming for their living. With the arrival of modern industrialized society during the latter half of the 19th century, things changed, and other opportunities to earn a living appeared. However, there were and are certain circumstances in the Stockholm Archipelago that make it somewhat inert, preventing it from taking a place in the modern labor market.

Essay by Christian Widholm June 18, 2019

The Dream of a Balto-Scandian Federation: Sweden and the independent Baltic States 1918–1940 in geography and politics

In the period between the two world wars, Swedish interest in the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania was in general extremely limited, whereas from the other side Sweden was seen as a geopolitically inactive power and consequently as a possible source of support and an ally against the Baltic states’ two greater neighbors, the Soviet Union and Germany.

Essay by Thomas Lundén June 18, 2019

Shit-pits and the archaeology of a lost economy

The skitgrop system was, to use popular words by today’s politicians, a “world-class re-cycling system” and a commercial practice that helped Stockholm handle its problems with garbage and feces. But more important is that the skitgrop system demonstrates the archipelago population’s trust in future farming. When buying feces and garbage for fertilizer, large economic and physical resources were invested

Essay by Johan Hegardt June 17, 2019

Memories of the War in Soviet and Russian Spy Cinema Evolution of Trauma

This paper analyzes Soviet and Russian spy films with respect to maintaining and transmitting memories of the Great Patriotic War (1941–1945) in popular culture. The new Russian post-Soviet cinema (after the 2000s) about the “war spies” is considered not only with regard to its entertainment and ideological functions, but also with regard to its function as a “post-memory” of the traumatic experiences of the war and the Nazi occupation. The new Russian cinema about espionage and spies reinterprets the issues of dependent people, Stalinist repressions, and traumatic memories that were absent in Soviet cinema.

Essay by Viktoriya Sukovata June 17, 2019

State integration vs. regional exceptionalism. A European predicament

There is a significant discrepancy between the political potential of the EU and its actual position and role in the future development of Europe. In practice, the member states have maintained their power monopoly in the most essential policy areas.

Essay by Bjarne Lindström March 7, 2019

Ksenia Sobchak and the visibility of female politicians in the Russian public sphere

After announcing her presidential campaign in October 2017, Sobchak, perhaps unsurprisingly, was represented in mainstream Russian media as an “unruly woman”19 who was transgressing the existing patriarchal norms and rules, and she was explicitly reminded by male journalists and TV anchors of the “real” and “traditional” role a woman is supposed to play.

Essay by Liudmila Voronova and Emil Edenborg March 7, 2019

The common space of neo-authoritarianism in post-Soviet Eurasia

This essay describes the widening common space of neo-authoritarianism in Eurasia. Preliminary results of ongoing research show how Russia and the Central Asian republics of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan synchronically introduced similar anti-democratic measures to restrict freedom of academia, civil society, and political participation in response to major social and political events such as popular uprisings, financial crises, and successful successions of state power. The goal of this essay is to introduce a theoretical framework for the comparative analysis of various types of hybrid non-democratic regimes not only in post-Soviet Eurasia, but also in other regions that experience democratic backsliding.

Essay by Oleg Antonov and Artem Galushko March 5, 2019

Academic Freedom in Russia: Between the Scylla of Conservatism and the Charybdis of Neoliberalism

Independent scientific and professional organizations began to suffer especially after the introduction of the so-called law on “foreign agents”. Ideological control over science, together with espionage, begins to directly influence the state of academic rights and freedoms. The topic of human rights has almost disappeared from teaching, and research in the field of queer sociology is in fact banned. However, the most vulnerable are those who either teach or demand respect for human rights at the university, and then the loss of employment is the result of a direct ideological confrontation with the rector, such as for the author of this text.

Essay by Dmitry V. Dubrovskiy March 5, 2019