Doctoral researcher Gataulina Iuliia

30000 €

Assembling a postsocialist university: The politics of higher education in Russia

Tieteellinen tutkimus / siihen pohjautuva työ | Yksivuotinen

The PhD project engages with the politics of higher education in Russia. The main research task is to critically examine whether and how “neoliberalization” reshapes the contemporary field of Russian higher education. However, neoliberalization is a contested concept. In the existing scholarship, the neoliberalisation of university is mainly theorised from “Western” contexts. My interest lies in problematizing claims about neoliberalization of higher education in the context of postsocialist realities, authoritarian political system and state control: it is argued that neoliberal practices play a manifold role in the process referred to as ‘authoritarian modernization’ in Russia facilitating neo-authoritarian and neoconservative restoration, including the field of higher education and research. The main theoretical framework of this research is assemblage theory that allows to analyze the politics of higher education in a relational manner. Thus, the university assemblage is not local nor global production, but rather a patchwork of different parts coming from the “near” and the “far”: features of neoliberal higher education (“global”) intertwine with more “local” (or territorialized) elements such as the authoritarian and neoconservative features in Russian politics and governance, demands of local economies, or academic subjectivities partly informed by postsocialist legacies. The project, furthermore, aims at performing a ‘reparative reading’ of university politics detailing the practices of care and collegiality within the neoliberal–authoritarian university and creating democratic and postcapitalist imaginaries for higher education and research. Methodologically, this research is a non-local ethnography, which challenge the “territorialisation” of the research design; the scope of the project goes beyond national territorial or semantic boundaries keeping in mind that the neoliberalisation of higher education create various assemblages across borders.