IU Europe Gateway: Urban Activism

Urban Activism and the Development of Civil Society in the Russian Federation

Urban activism is a dynamic component of civil society in the Russian Federation but it is distinct from Western conceptions of both civic society and existing theories of urban revolution. The development and nature of civil society within Russia has taken on local characteristics that differentiate it from Western understandings and delimit different relationships to the state and policy processWhereas in the West, civil society is considered as independent of the government, scholars argue that some aspects of civil society under Russia’s managed democracy is closely aligned with state agendas. 

The goal of this conference was to frame a collective inquiry into the patterns of urban collective action by comparing social activism in different cities and different issue areas across the Russian Federation.  Focusing on three clusters of inquiry—local identity politics, labor activism, housing and political engagement—this conference sought out interdisciplinary approaches to these issue areas from across the social sciences, including scholars from political science, geography, social theory, and anthropology. The conference also drew from a variety of methodological approaches to understand emerging patterns of civic organization and action in urban spaces.  

The goal of the conference was an edited volume based on the contributions to the project and to encourage the emergence of a cross-national research community that would pursue future research collaboration. 

October 12-13, 2018. Organized by Jeremey Morris, Aarhus University ; Andrey Semenev, Perm State University; Regina Smyth, Associate Professor, Political Science, Indiana University.