Research Internship at Laboratory of Sociology in Education and Science in St. Petersburg
Since the beginning of this academic year, Marika Sharashenidze has been a research intern at the Laboratory of Sociology in Education and Science (LSES) in St. Petersburg.
Marika recently graduated from the Rice University in Houston, Texas, United States, majoring in Sociology and minoring in Medicine. This year, she came to LSES to study migrants’ children in St. Petersburg schools. Marika found the Laboratory when she was looking for migrants’ studies. She read LSES’s publications in English and found them useful. Then she wrote to Daniil Alexandrov, Head of LSES, and requested an internship. We spoke with Marika about how sociologists live in America and asked her to tell us about her research plans in Russia.
About coming to Russia
My parents grew up in Russia. My father is a Georgian, and my mother is a Jew born in Ukraine. Both of them moved to Kazan as kids, where they later met while they were studying at medical university. There is a language barrier problem between me and my parents. Their English isn’t perfect, and I can’t always understand 100% of what they say. I would like to improve my Russian to bridge this gap of misunderstanding between us, and now I can have a lot of practice here.
When you are a sociologist, people always say something like ‘Well, you’re never going to find a job’. They keep kidding about it. And I even think it’s funny. Sociology in America is one of the most multidimensional areas. If you don’t want to have only ‘white males’ as your classmates, you choose this major.
About those who study quality and quantity
In the U.S., everyone knows that if you are involved in quantitative sociology, your papers are more likely to be published than those with qualitative research. Of course, you can write a book, but how many books can a researcher publish throughout their life… five? In addition to that, the problem is that you have to have publications in order to be asked to write this book, and the journals are reluctant to accept papers based on qualitative data. This is only my opinion, however, and I might be wrong.
We carried out several mini projects at the university. I received my first grant from the Department of Jewish Studies. I was very interested in spatial sociology then, and at first, I wanted do go to Mexico and study graffiti there. But my parents would never have approved of such a trip. That’s why I had to go to study graffiti in Tel Aviv, and particularly, how an individual can influence a cultural space.
About plans in Russia
I’m going to study the interaction between schoolchildren from different ethnic groups. It seems to me that for Russians, it is very important to meet people at a young age, when their core ties are evolving. Usually they are formed at school, and in this case, it’s important to understand whether such ties evolve between schoolchildren of different ethnicities. This problem is also very relevant because Russia is the world’s second country in terms of transnational migration, and this phenomenon is not as well studied as in the U.S. During the first three months of my study, I’ll be carrying out observations at schools, and then I’ll be interviewing the schoolchildren.
About Russian schools
Your schools are a lot better! My school definitely didn’t look like this. I’m not sure and probably this was just the first school I managed to visit, but when I looked under the table, it was clean, and the walls are clean too, there are no drawings, marks, and ‘school graffiti’. I also noticed a ping-pong table in the hall, and then I wondered, why hasn’t it been stolen yet?
Boris Kashnikov, Professor at the Faculty of Humanities, has delivered a course on "War and Peace" at the University of Bayreuth (Germany). The course was delivered in cooperation with Professor Rudolf Schuessler - specialist in just war theory, theory of international negotiations, and ethics in economics. The course is the result of the cooperation agreement recently signed between HSE and the University of Bayreuth.
On November 7, HSE hosted a delegation from the Jülich Research Centre in Germany. Scholars from both countries came together to discuss joint research opportunities, including transformation of energy systems for sustainable development; future studies of energy technologies, including foresight studies; and methodological issues related to big data analysis and modelling.
On October 17-21, a delegation from HSE St. Petersburg, including Sergey Kadochnikov, Director of the HSE Campus in St. Petersburg, and Olga Krylova, Head of HSE St. Petersburg International Office, visited Korea during a trip sponsored by the St. Petersburg Committee for Science and Higher Education.
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On October 19, the HSE School of Sociology hosted Dr. Kerstin Jacobsson, Professor of Sociology at the University of Gothenburg (Sweden), for a seminar entitled ‘Emotions and Morality in a neo-Durkheimian Perspective on Social Movements’. Held as part of the International Sociology Seminar Series, Dr. Jacobsson’s talk was based on the book Animal Rights Activism: A Moral-Sociological Perspective on Social Movements (co-authored with Jonas Lindblom), which develops a novel theoretical perspective on social movements. Following her lecture, she spoke with the HSE News Service about some of the key findings in her research on social movements, including as they relate to the post-Soviet space.
Department of History at HSE St. Petersburg is focusing on a global, comparative and transnational approach to historical studies, and cooperates with several European and American research centers. One of its primary partners is German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), which sponsors a position of an Associate Professor for a German scholar, and Dietmar Wulff, the current resident, told The HSE Look about his three years at the department and plans for the future.
Mr. Pengcheng Li, Director of CNIS (China) and Chair of the APEC Expert Group on Energy Efficiency & Conservation (EGEE&C), recently took part in the 50th anniversary meeting of the EGEE&C held at HSE Moscow. Following the event, he spoke with the HSE News Service about some of the topics covered, including the role he sees Russia playing in sustainable energy development.
We continue talking about universities that are alongside HSE in the 51–100 group in various subject areas in the QS ranking. Today we have sociologists speaking about their ‘neighbours in the ranking’.
Cultural Evolution, a new book by Ronald Inglehart, American sociologist, professor at the University of Michigan and academic supervisor of the HSE Laboratory for Comparative Social Research, is currently being prepared for publication in Russia. Russian readers will be the first to read the prominent scholar's book, as its Russian translation will come out before the American original. The Russian translation of the book has been prepared by the Liberal Mission Foundation and the LCSR.
The fourth HSE International Summer University has drawn to a close. The programme continues to grow and evolve. This year over 160 students from 46 universities came to HSE to take courses in International Relations & Politics, Computer Science, Russian Studies, Economics, Culture & History.