Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Cultural Diversity in Russian Cities

Cultural Diversity in Russian Cities: The Urban Landscape in the post-Soviet Era

Edited by Cordula Gdaniec
Series: Space and Place
Copyright Date: 2010
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 196
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Cultural Diversity in Russian Cities
    Book Description:

    Cultural diversity - the multitude of different lifestyles that are not necessarily based on ethnic culture - is a catchphrase increasingly used in place of multiculturalism and in conjunction with globalization. Even though it is often used as a slogan it does capture a widespread phenomenon that cities must contend with in dealing with their increasingly diverse populations. The contributors examine how Russian cities are responding and through case studies from Moscow, St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, and Sochi explore the ways in which different cultures are inscribed into urban spaces, when and where they are present in public space, and where and how they carve out their private spaces. Through its unique exploration of the Russian example, this volume addresses the implications of the fragmented urban landscape on cultural practices and discourses, ethnicity, lifestyles and subcultures, and economic practices, and in doing so provides important insights applicable to a global context.

    eISBN: 978-1-84545-831-7
    Subjects: Anthropology, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. 1 Cultural Diversity between Staging and the Everyday Experiences from Moscow, St. Petersburg and Other Russian Cities. An Introduction
    (pp. 1-20)

    A poster depicting flowers – but, interestingly, not people – and bearing the caption ‘the city consists of different people (gorod – edinstvo nepokhozhikh)’ can be seen in every Moscow metro station. The original Aristotle quote continues ‘similar people cannot form a city’. This implies that urban culture is necessarily diverse, multi-faceted, often contradictory, even conflicting. Cities are built on and develop through cultural diversity. More specifically, this poster indicates a unique situation in Moscow where, as the mayor quotes on the website of the House of Nationalities, ‘diversity is our wealth and beauty, and not a problem’¹, but where...

  5. 2 Is Chinese Space ‘Chinese’? New Migrants in St. Petersburg
    (pp. 21-49)

    I met Mei when I had lunch in a small Chinese restaurant on Gorokhovaya Street in St. Petersburg. It turned out that we both lived nearby, and it was a short walk for us both to reach Nevsky Prospekt, the downtown’s main street. At one of our later meetings, we ordered lunch at a mid-priced self-serve cafeteria at the corner of Nevsky and Griboedov Canal. I was impressed by her fearless interaction with the girl at the cash register: at a similar stage of learning Russian, I spoke timidly and barely at all unless I was certain that I was...

  6. 3 Constructions of the ‘Other’ Racialisation of Migrants in Moscow and Novosibirsk
    (pp. 50-69)

    This chapter presents some results of my research on the Russian migration regime and migrants’ experiences.¹ In this project I investigate how the migration regime – legislation, institutions and discourses – constructed in Russia in response to immigration from other Newly Independent States (NIS), impacts on the experience and identities of migrants from this region.

    In spring and summer of 2004, I conducted thirty-nine in-depth interviews with migrants, who had settled in Moscow, and in Novosibirsk, a large city in Western Siberia with approximately one and half million inhabitants. I approached respondents through my friends, acquaintances and relatives as well...

  7. 4 Reshaping Living Space Concepts of Home Represented by Women Migrants Working in St. Petersburg
    (pp. 70-93)

    The subject of this article was prompted by ‘misunderstandings’ occurring during conversations with our informants. While studying labour migrants in St. Petersburg who sell goods on the markets and shop pavilions, we often had to stand for hours on end beside the stalls where our informants worked. During interludes when there were no customers we talked to the migrants, and our topics of conversation ranged from their customers’ characters to their own housing problems, from the vagaries of weather to how it is to be a woman migrant. As is usual in conversation, our partners referred to their own experience,...

  8. 5 African Communities in Moscow and St. Petersburg Issues of Inclusion and Exclusion
    (pp. 94-114)

    Racially-motivated violence against Africans and people with black skin has become a topic of discussion in both the Russian and the international press, in academic discussions and even in international monitoring (Ezhova 2002, Gaidamak 2006, Jackson 2006, Klomegah 2006, Diène 2007). Because of the number of racially-motivated attacks in Russia, it is difficult to write about African communities in Russia without focusing on the problem of racism. This, however, often results in Africans in Russia being reduced to the role of victims in public discourse, and to other aspects of African communities in Russia being neglected.

    The number of Africans...

  9. 6 The Construction of ‘Marginality’ and ‘Normality’ In Search of a Collective Identity Among Youth Cultural Scenes in Sochi
    (pp. 115-137)

    In contemporary youth subcultures, street groups have special significance. On the one hand, such groups are far from new, and by comparison with the weakly structured and little-studied Internet community they are more comprehensible and accessible, i.e., more publicly visible. At the same time, city streets constitute a siteintrinsically suited to youthwhere control over youth practices by adults is weak, and where juveniles do not just spend time, but socialise, communicate, grow up. It is possible to identify an enormous number both of general city spaces (courtyards, staircases, parks, central squares) and local places specific to individual cities,...

  10. 7 ‘You Know What Kind of Place This Is, Don’t You?’ An Exploration of Lesbian Spaces In Moscow
    (pp. 138-163)

    The aim of this chapter is to explore the spatial practices of sexual minorities in Moscow and how negotiations between public and private aspects of space make it possible for gays and lesbians to create their own spaces within the city. In the first part of the chapter I will describe two very different meeting places for lesbians in Moscow. The first is a public space, a park-like section on the Boulevard Ring, and the second is a private apartment that occasionally functions as a library. These spaces incorporate varying degrees of privacy and public-ness that enable different degrees of...

  11. 8 Begging as Economic Practice Urban Niches in Central St. Petersburg
    (pp. 164-178)

    One of St. Petersburg’s most conspicuous features today is the intensity of commercial activity in public spaces. Small shops and kiosks are ubiquitous, and open round the clock. New shopping centres replete with Swiss bakeries and French perfume shops have opened downtown. Megamalls are being built on the outskirts. Huge advertising boards invite the public to an ‘unforgettable’ trade fair, to the ‘mall of their dreams’, to a ‘top class’ jeweller or furrier, or to a restaurant or casino. At entrances to metro stations and in street underpasses, every few metres pedestrians pass flyer distributors, street vendors, street musicians and...

  12. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 179-180)
  13. INDEX
    (pp. 181-185)