Olga Gurova

Senior Fellow
University of Helsinki, Finland
Project Title: 
Fashioning the Consumer Revolution in Contemporary Russia: Institutions, Identities, and Everyday Life
Project Abstract: 

This book-length research aims at understanding how clothing consumption has changed in Russia in the context of emerging capitalism and recent economic, political and cultural transformations. Russia has survived the "consumer revolutions" by which I mean transgressing the boundaries between necessary consumption and overconsumption (Davis 2000). To explore the consumer revolution in Russia, I draw on the institutional approach and consider consumption as a set of interconnected economic and cultural institutions that create a certain type of consumer subject (Zukin, Maguire 2004; Kawamura 2005). Fashion and clothing consumption reflect the construction of this consumer subject at the different levels of organizational structure (fashion retail market, fashion media), identities and lifestyles, and everyday consumer practices. Drawing on the data from ethnographic observation in the cities of St. Petersburg and Novosibirsk in Russia, in-depth interviews with consumers, expert interviews and document analysis I will explore multi-level transformations in the sphere of clothing consumption and how they are informed by the processes of (re)negotiations of class, political, regional, gender and other identities in a former socialist society.

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