Stiftelsen för forskning inom områden med anknytning till Östersjöregionen och Östeuropa

What does it mean to be a father? State, civil society and citizen discourses about fatherhood in Russia


Ämne: Statsvetenskap
Projektledare: Johnny Rodin
Startår: 2012

The project’s aim is to deconstruct fatherhood discourses in Russia. Fatherhood is studied via three subprojects, focusing on different arenas: the state, civil society and the individual citizen. The subprojects join under a common theoretical umbrella, building on Michel Foucault’s concept “biopolitics”. Several kinds of methods and material are used: a survey of citizens in St Petersburg; semi-structured interviews with individuals in St Petersburg, with state officials and with staff and directors of a civil society organization (called “daddy-school”); participants in this organization’s activities are interviewed in focus groups; current and historical state documents (population and family policies), and documentation from the civil society organization. The scientific contributions consist of the illumination of the previously understudied Russian fatherhood discourses. Moreover, the concept of biopolitics is applied on a Russian context, something rarely done in previous research. Using biopolitics as an analytical point of departure makes it possible both to put fatherhood in a wider political context in the intersection between public and private, and to say something about the relations between the state, civil society and citizens. This is particularly interesting in the Russian case since the country is experiencing a severe population decline, which links the private (i.e. childbirth) to the public (population reproduction).