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Laboratorium: Russian Review of Social Research

Laboratorium is an open-access peer-reviewed journal produced by an international group of scholars. The bilingual journal, which comes out three times a year, publishes materials based on empirical social research in Russian and English languages.

Between 2009 and 2013, the journal was published with the financial support of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The journal is now supported by the Centre for Independent Social Research (CISR) and the Heinrich Böll Foundation.

Current Issue

Modernization of Soviet Pulp and Paper Industry and Technology Transfer in 19531964: The Case of Enso/Svetogorsk

Elena Kochetkova

This paper deals with the transfer of Western technologies during Nikita Khrushchev’s program of industrial modernization. One of the focuses of this program was on the pulp and paper industry, an important but outdated branch of the Soviet economy. In order to improve the technology as well as to increase production, the Soviet leadership had to apply for Western help. As “a capitalist friend” of the Soviet Union during the Cold War, Finland played a key role in providing the country with Western technologies. In this article, I ask whether technology transfer assisted Russia’s modernization goals in the context of the Cold War.

Giving Up on Great Plans? Transforming Representations of Space in City Plans in Russia and Sweden

Lisa Kings, Zhanna Kravchenko

This article analyzes representations of urban space by exploring city planning during the last half century in Stockholm and Leningrad/Saint Petersburg. City plans that constitute the empirical foundation of the article were enforced during the nodal points—1950s–1960s and early 2000s—of the historical development of both countries and reflect specificities of their ideological and sociopolitical heritage. Our study explores how representations of space—crystallized as ideas about goals and possibilities for spatial planning—have changed over time and how they reflect larger political, economic, and ideological transformations in Sweden and Russia.

How Journals Select Articles: The Manuscript Review Process in American Sociology

Katerina Guba

This review essay examines the manuscript review process at major American sociology journals. The expansion of the discipline in the 1960s–1970s, which was accompanied by a tightening of the academic job market, transformed journals into key arbiters of tenure decisions. For young authors, publication in major journals was an important distinction which many of them tried to get. Under such conditions journal editors felt enormous responsibility for enforcing a fair review process with obligatory double-blind peer reviewing of all—even obviously poor—manuscripts. Journal editors made great efforts to ensure that verdicts on the fate of the manuscripts were objective.

Shopping at Sizomag: The Internet as a Potemkin Village of Modern Russian Penal Practice

Dina Gusejnova

The aim of this introduction and the ensuing discussion is to explore the role of the Internet in postsocialist Russian penitentiary practice and the social economy of punishment. The Internet has multiple functions in modern societies, as an information resource, communication tool, and instrument of government. This introductory essay is based on what could be called a digital phenomenology of the Russian Internet, supplemented by interviews with experts and a small selection of photographs from the personal archive of Ol’ga Romanova. As such, it provides only an outline of questions, with few tentative answers, which suggest how one might problematize the social significance of Internet-based services that have been offered in Russian penitentiaries since 2009 alongside the growth of the Internet as a medium of information exchange on penitentiaries.

Interview: Penitentiary Systems in the Era of Internet Services in Russia

Judith Pallot

Interview: Penitentiary Systems in the Era of Internet Services in the West

Yvonne Jewkes

By posing several questions to the two experts, Laboratorium would like to initiate a conversation that aims to investigate in comparative perspective how new technologies and services affect the relationship between state and society in the sphere of criminal punishment.