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Situating identities: enacting and studying Europe at a Russian elite university


Müller, Martin (2008). Situating identities: enacting and studying Europe at a Russian elite university. Millennium - Journal of International Studies, 37(1):3-25.

Abstract

The majority of studies on identity in the discipline of International Relations have analysed identities from an analytical perspective of distance; they elide the fact that identities are situated productions which unfold in specific contexts and through different forms of signification. In this article, I seek to work towards greater attentiveness to the situatedness of identities. I propose a reconsideration of the concept of discourse for situating identities and argue that ethnography can be a useful methodology for analysing the discursive construction of identities in micro-settings. This conceptual argument is illustrated by drawing on data from ethnographic research within Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), a Russian elite university. I analyse how identification with Europe shifts across multiple contexts as it is enacted in everyday life and represented in the multiple processes of studying international relations at this educational institution. Foregrounding the situatedness of identities in this way brings their ambiguities and instabilities into view, while cautioning against an all-too-easy universalization in identity research.

The majority of studies on identity in the discipline of International Relations have analysed identities from an analytical perspective of distance; they elide the fact that identities are situated productions which unfold in specific contexts and through different forms of signification. In this article, I seek to work towards greater attentiveness to the situatedness of identities. I propose a reconsideration of the concept of discourse for situating identities and argue that ethnography can be a useful methodology for analysing the discursive construction of identities in micro-settings. This conceptual argument is illustrated by drawing on data from ethnographic research within Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), a Russian elite university. I analyse how identification with Europe shifts across multiple contexts as it is enacted in everyday life and represented in the multiple processes of studying international relations at this educational institution. Foregrounding the situatedness of identities in this way brings their ambiguities and instabilities into view, while cautioning against an all-too-easy universalization in identity research.

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9 citations in Web of Science®
10 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Language:English
Date:2008
Deposited On:25 Sep 2013 13:17
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 16:50
Publisher:SAGE Publications
ISSN:0305-8298
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1177/0305829808093728
Related URLs:https://www.alexandria.unisg.ch/Publikationen/55833
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-78819

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