Comparative Analysis of Causal Mechanisms, Prevention and Regulation of the Ethno-Social Conflicts in Academe: Cases of Russia and Ukraine, USA and Canada

Overview

The Project proposed by the Chair of Comparative Sociology at SPSU in collaboration with the SPSU International Research Library “Transnationalism and Migration Processes” (tandem.spbu.ru) is developed in a theoretical framework of the new and vital fields within the broad discipline of sociology such as ‘sociology of ethnic and racial studies’, ‘sociology of emotions’, ‘everyday life sociology’. These fields have a lineage encompassing the classical tradition as well as more recent sociological research and scholarship.

The Project elaborates the idea proposed by the Prof. Rezaev on the necessity to segment the comparative higher education as a specific academic discipline and field of study (Rezaev, 1996: Reflections on the Three Ps of Russian Higher Education; Rezaev: 2012, “Higher Education Studies: Toward a New Scholarly Discipline” in W.R. Allen, R. Teranishi and M. Bonoush-Hammarth (Eds.) As the World Turns: Diversity and Global Shifts in Higher Education Theory, Research and Practice. Emerald Group Publishing, UK)

The research hypotheses are based on data and empirical materials that Research Teach has been obtained during 12 years of the field researches that were supported by Russian Humanitarian Foundation (РГНФ) withthe Grants: 1) 2013 – 2015 Discontent and labor migrants’ behavior in the period of economic crisis: comparative analysis of the everyday life practices of transnational labor migrants in North-Western region of Russia in 2008-2012. 2) 2010 – 2013 Comparative analysis of transnational labor migrants’ everyday life practices in Athens (Greece) and St. Petersburg (Russia). 10-03-00911а/Г.The co-Project with Greek Foundation CARI. 3) 2008 – 2010 Analysis of the social exclusion and social inclusion of the labor migrants from Vietnam into the everyday life of the cities in the North-West Region of Russian Federation. Russian Humanitarian Scholarly Foundation (RGNF) 09-03-00870а/V. The co-Project with Vietnamese Academy of Science

The basic research questions of the Project are:

1) What are the causal social mechanisms that determine a possibility of the ethnic/racial tensions and conflicts in the academe?

2) Is it possible to prevent, to control and to normalize such conflicts? What are the rountines and technieques of the prevention and control?

Specific research question include, but are not limited to: how can researchers deal with their own emotions within the analysis of ethnic, national, racial problematics? How can one delineate an emotional culture empirically? Is it true that emotions in the processes of protests are “painted into the colours of national flags”? In looking at these research questions more closely the Research Team will use causal comparative models and experimental designs and counterfactual analytical techniques.

In terms of methodology the Project is oriented toward three basic approaches: the first is Comparative perspective centering two strategies – qualitative and quantitative and using mixed methods research; the second is Computational social sciences converging most recent tactics of using computers’ and software’s potentials as well as computational methods for studying social processes; the third is focusing on the approaches progressed in Visual Sociology.

There is still a need of methodological reflection for empirical research of ethnic conflicts and emotional involvement into protest activities. The Project welcomes the approaches of studying discontent, social interactions and emotions empirically on the basis of exploration into everyday life practices of designated groups in academic milieu: professors, students, administrative, staff, and research supporting staff.