Readers who are professional social scientists may be interested to hear about a new journal, Laboratorium, edited by my friend and colleague, Mischa Gabowitsch. The journal is bi-lingual (Russian and English) and multi-disciplinary (with an emphasis on sociology). A description of their editorial policies can be found here.
If you are working in or on Russian societies, this is clearly a place to send your best work. But general sociologists should pay attention, too. As Mischa’s editorial introduction notes, sociology in Russia faces a number of institutional obstacles, including the 2003 firing of Iurii Levada from the state-owned All-Russian Center for the Study of Public Opinion, the 2007 student protests at Moscow State University’s sociology department (which later focused on Dean Vladimir Dobren’kov, accusing him of corruption, plagiarism, incompetence, and anti-Semitism), and the widely publicized shuttering (and re-opening) of the European University at Saint Petersburg in 2008. It is not a huge leap to claim that sociology (and the social sciences) in Russia are under threat.
Supporting our colleagues there by reading their writing, collaborating with them, publishing relevant work in journals such as Laboratorium, are all important interventions our community of scholars can make. I remind you of the adage that compares the strength of a sword to that of a pen. Please take some time and read pieces from the inaugural issue. Michael Burawoy has a piece on public sociology, Mischa’s introduction is illuminating, and there are many new works and scholars to discover. Viva Laboratorium!