Alexandrina Vanke is a researcher holding a PhD in Sociology from the University of Manchester. Her expertise lies in the areas of deindustrialization, the lived experiences of working-class people, grassroots modifications of urban space and changes in postsocialist cities. In her forthcoming book ‘The urban life of workers in post-Soviet Russia: Engaging in everyday struggle’ (Manchester University Press), she provides a novel theoretical account of everyday life in post-indutrial cities. Her ethnographic research develops the concept of structure of feeling by Raymond Williams and the concept of habitus by Pierre Bourdieu in regard to everyday life, inequality and mundane resistance in deindustrializing urban spaces.

Alexandrina is currently holding the position of a Research Fellow at the Institute of Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow. She is also a member of the British Sociological Association and the St. Petersburg Association of Sociologists.

Project description

Everyday environmentalism of deindustrialising communities

Following from my doctoral research, which examined the lived experiences of working-class communities in Russia’s post-industrial cities, this project develops the argument of the environmental dimension of practical consciousness of urban workers also discussed in my forthcoming book. This new project looks specifically at everyday environmental and ecological activities of Moscow city dwellers in deindustrialising urban districts, which experience rapid neoliberal changes. Within this research, I am particularly interested in working-class environmentalism considered in the context on increasing inequalities in the post-industrial city. I explore such practical activities of city dwellers, as engagement in grassroots urban gardening and growing vegetables, collective cleanings of post-industrial districts, recycling and dealing with rubbish, and conscious consumption. The project builds on the approach of creative ethnography combining the mainstream qualitative methods of observation and participation with photographs and short videos of urban space and the innovative methods, such as researcher’s quick drawings of real life-situations and environmental activities, and audio-records of natural sounds in the post-industrial city.