In this talk, Professor Jeremy Morris will present ethnographic research he carried out in ‘small town’ Russia and beyond since 2009. Professor Morris will review the main ideas of his book Everyday Postsocialism: that even in contexts characterised by deindustrialisation, loss, and precarity, ordinary people do more than just ‘get by’ – they actively make their social environment habitable in numerous ways. Solidarities, networks and moral values inherited from the socialist period are important, but so too are ‘new’ phenomena like the informal economy, new forms of labour migration and work for multinational companies. In the second part of the talk, Morris will focus on developments more recently – ordinary people’s response to Putinism’s extension beyond the horizon, as well as the development of my longitudinal research agenda and its engagement with social theories. Trauma but also ‘everyday’ resistance are enduring themes. These in turn relate to more fundamental questions of political economy like the particular nature of economic and social dispossession – repression even – in today’s Russia, the incoherence of the state, and questions about autonomy in work and alternatives to wage labour.
Jeremy Morris is Associate Professor of Global Studies at Aarhus University, Denmark. His research spans social trust, the welfare state, informal economy, class, precarity and postsocialism more generally. His books include: Everyday Postsocialism: Working-class communities in the Russian Margins (Palgrave, 2016), as co-editor, New Media in New Eurasia (Routledge 2015); Informal Economies in Post-Socialist Spaces: Practices, Institutions and Networks (Palgrave 2015).