Olja Reznikova

Olja Reznikova is a cultural scientist. She studied European Ethnology, Geography and Sociology at the LMU, Munich. In her earlier works, she has focused on the analysis of anti-Chechen racism and its impact on the newly erected city of Grosny. Currently she is working on her PhD within the framework of the interdisciplinary project ‘Urban Ethics’ with a focus on protests and activism in Moscow. Rezinikova works in the tradition of critical racism research, and critical migration research on the basis of (queer)feminist and postcolonial theories.

Ethics, City and Subjectness. The Boundaries of Activism and Protest Art

My speech is an attempt to address activism and protest art from two perspectives: firstly, from the urban perspective by using urban science, urban networks and urban space, and secondly referring to subjectness and ethicalisation of political processes. Therefore, I am interested in how political activists are interconnected in urban space, in their ‘social creativity’ and evolution as active and ethical subjects in the context of protest activities in Moscow.

Following the tradition of critical theory (Adorno), theories on subjectness (Foucault, Butler, Reckwitz) and postcolonial studies, I am mainly interested in analysing the boundaries of such terms as a ‘good’ and ‘active citizen’, ‘inhabitant of Moscow’, or an ‘activist’ etc. This allows us to draw attention to such dichotomies as ‘activist vs. victim’, ‘antifascist vs. migrant’, ‘activist vs. people’, or ‘corrupt vs. protest artist’.

In my speech, I will particularly focus on some subjectivisation processes employed in dealing with citizens holding oppositionary views and on processes of structural exclusion associated with such subjectivisation. To illustrate this subjectivisation process, one can look at the objectivisation of the ‘ethnically alien’ with the aim to strengthen the position of a tolerant subject. My analysis is based on my empirical studies conducted in 2012-2015 in the tradition of the anthropological activist research (collaborative research).