Friends in the City? Research Routes after Russia’s Skinheads

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Mischa Gabowitsch


The editors of Laboratorium have asked me to comment on the six very different reviews of Hilary Pilkington, Elena Omel’chenko, and Al’bina Garifzianova’s Russia’s Skinheads: Exploring and Rethinking Subcultural Lives they have assembled (for my own review of the book, see Gabowitsch, forthcoming).
Let me start by congratulating Laboratorium on organizing this debate. Foreign-language works on Russia still far too often go virtually unnoticed, and certainly underdiscussed, in Russian-language academia outside the authors’ own network of friends and colleagues. More often than not, even the best studies fail to make an impact on understandings of Russia in Russia itself, and the authors are left without feedback from those who know their field best, giving many discussions of such studies (in Western journals) an excessively theoretical slant. Journals such as Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie, Ab Imperio, and Antropologicheskii forum have done much to remedy this for literary/cultural studies, history, and anthropology respectively, and it is good to see that things are beginning to change in sociology, too.


Nationalism in Russia, Urban Ethnography, Youth Scenes in Russia, Nazi Skinheads in Russia, Sociology of Friendship Groups, Youth Cultural Strategy

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