PhD, Postdoctoral researcher Krivonos Daria and working group (LIFEMAKE)

378900 €

Life-breaking and Life-making: A research project on social reproduction and survival in times of collapse

Tieteellinen tutkimus / siihen pohjautuva työ | Nelivuotinen

The top-down perspectives on geopolitics, security and “bare life” have overshadowed everyday material practices through which people maintain, continue and repair their social lives in times of the ongoing catastrophic events of the current decade. Starting from the covid-19 pandemic, aggravating police violence and repressions in Belarus and Russia, a cascade of dramatic circumstances in Central and Eastern Europe put many lives on the edge of loss and death; and the scale of catastrophe has greatly exacerbated since the beginning of Russian invasion into Ukraine. Offering a reparative lens to geopolitical narratives, we examine the shadow underside of the collapsing times, the labour that goes into making, sustaining and reproducing life itself – what we, following feminist scholarship, call life-making labour. The project deals with the central research question: what makes social life continue when lives are breaking? To address it, we draw on the feminist political economy literature that has centred the labour of social reproduction – activities, attitudes, affects and relationships that go directly into maintaining social life daily and intergenerationally – as fundamental for making life itself possible. Methodologically, our project relies on participant observation and in-depth interviews, which each project member will conduct in their respective fieldwork sites, together composing a joint multi-sited ethnographic study of life-making. We offer four ethnographic cases: 1. Ukrainian migrant communities in Warsaw, 2. rural minoritised Polish communities in Belarus, 3. transnationally dispersed LGBTIQ+ activist communities from St Petersburg in the Baltic states and 4. volunteer groups hosting Ukrainian refugees in their homes in Finland. Through engagement with multiple ethnographic sites, we examine life-making practices across geographic locations in the times begging for research on invisibilised aspects of reproduction of the life itself.