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?
The turnstiles and entrance gates used in municipal transport not only ensure that passengers pay, but also structure their behavior according to age, body size, ability and speed. Many people must maneuver themselves to pass easily through the rotating arms or swinging gates of an Automated Passage Control System (APCS): passengers cannot be too large or too small and must not walk too quickly or too slowly. Sociologists studied how turnstiles impose uniformity on passengers’ physicality and behaviour.
On December 12, heads of missions and embassy representatives from over forty countries gathered in Moscow for HSE University Day for Diplomatic Missions. The event, which was held at HSE’s newly renovated Pokrovka campus, was aimed at fostering further cooperation between HSE and its international partners.
Although HIV infection rates are high among the transgender community in Russia, many transgender people know very little about the virus, as well as their own health status. In Russia’s first study to examine transgender people as an at-risk social group for HIV transmission, demographers attribute these high infection rates to the community’s social stigmatization and isolation, as well as a lack of access to medical services. The study’s findings have been published in the HSE journal, Demographic Review.
The Institute for Oriental and Classical Studies of the Faculty of Humanities has launched a Center of Iranian Studies and the Persian Language. On December 6, representatives of HSE University and the Cultural Representative of the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Moscow signed the cooperation agreement.
Researchers and diplomats from 35 countries and eight Russian regional universities gathered at HSE University to discuss globalization in Asia and how it differs from what is taking place in Europe.
Advice from Above: Sociologists Have Assessed the Impact that Priests Have on How Their Parishioners Vote
Political preferences of at least 21% of Orthodox voters in Russia may be influenced by the clergy and their fellow believers. Based on an online survey of 2,735 respondents, HSE University sociologists Kirill Sorvin and Maksim Bogachev concluded that religion has a considerable impact on people’s political choices. The scholars assume that the share of those who vote ‘in an Orthodox way’ may be higher: many respondents were under 34, and young people are a minority among Orthodox believers in Russia.
On October 25-26, the International College of Economics and Finance (ICEF) and the Laboratory of Financial Economics (LFE) hosted the Eighth International Moscow Finance Conference at HSE University. This year’s programme included researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles; University of California, Berkeley; University of Warwick; University of Lausanne; and the London School of Economics. Their presentations dealt with a wide range of timely topics, including the forecasting potential of data science models.
Students of the HSE and University of London Parallel Degree Programme in International Relations earned some of the highest scores worldwide on the exams that the University of London administers at its foreign partner universities.
The greatest fear of young women living in big cities is that of sexual violence. It is not necessarily based on the actual crime rate in the city but often instilled by family and society. As a result, women tend to carefully pre-plan their behaviour and movements in 'suspicious' places based on safety concerns. HSE researchers interviewed a group of young women about certain aspects of their fears and strategies they use to deal with it.
Couples with three or more children often feel that others judge or refuse to understand them. Their decision to have many children seems to annoy their extended family, neighbours, colleagues, health professionals and government bureaucrats. Very often, other large families are the only one who offer them support. Based on findings from in-depth interviews, HSE researchers describe the effect that social interactions can have on fertility.