Dr Jeremy Morris MA DPhil FHEA


Senior Lecturer in Russian Studies

Department of Modern Languages


Contact details

Department of Modern Languages: Russian Studies
Centre for Russian and East European Studies
Ashley Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT


Jeremy Morris is an Area-Studies specialist. Having researched contemporary Russian culture in the past, his current research is focused on ethnographic approaches to understanding ‘actually-lived experience’ in the former Soviet Union, particularly in relation to work, class and the diverse economy.

Feedback and office hours

Office Hours:

Monday 11:00-13:00, 14:00-16:00

Friday 10.30-14:00


DPhil in Russian Studies, University of Sussex (2003)

MA Literature, Culture & Modernity, Queen Mary, University of London (1997)

BA English, Sociology & Social Ethics, Lancaster University (1995)


Jeremy Morris is an Area-Studies specialist with extensive in-country experience and knowledge of contemporary Russia, having lived and worked there in the 1990s and 2000s.

Having written extensively on contemporary Russian literature and visual culture in the past, his current research is focused on ethnographic and interpretive approaches to understanding ‘actually-lived experience’ in the former Soviet Union. This disciplinary shift is the logical extension of his in-country experience and close engagement with Russia’s ‘everyday’ culture.

He has recently received research funding to investigate the negotiation of worker identity under post-socialism (British Academy), and a Marie Curie grant looking at alternative approaches to development in the post-socialist region.

His current research addresses two key debates in social research and area studies. It evaluates the transformative power of neoliberalism on the public and private identities of people in Russia and helps theorise this experience within the context of post-socialism and globalisation.

Jeremy acted as Director of Undergraduate Programmes in Russian within CREES for five years from 2005-2010, completely overhauling undergraduate language provision, with support from a dedicated team of language-teaching professionals, making Birmingham one of the best places in the UK for students to attain all-round fluency in Russian. The programme tutors pride themselves in providing a highly demanding and satisfying student-centred learning experience, and are nationally acknowledged as providing the benchmark in virtual learning environment support. The team have received significant funding from CEELBAS (Centre for East European Language-Based Area Studies) to undertake post-graduate curriculum development and training courses that are VLE-based and can be adapted to different HE institutions’ requirements. In July 2014 he was appointed as co-director of the Centre for Russian, European and Eurasian Studies.


  • The Cultural Politics of Russia and Eastern Europe
  • Understanding Post-socialist Societies
  • Introduction to Russian Civilisation and Culture
  • European Societies: a Cross-Cultural Perspective
  • The Twentieth-Century Russian Novel
  • European Cultural Theory (section on Bourdieu and Class)
  • Core Russian language 4 (translation)

Postgraduate supervision

 Current doctoral students:

Tom Disney (2011-) Orphan Care and Imprisonment in the Russian Federation. This research will bring together the sub-disciplines of Children’s Geographies and Geographies of Health and Care to examine the ways in which orphaned children display agency within these spaces of institutional care, and the ways in which these spaces are socially and culturally constructed by the adults providing the care and the children as recipients of that care.

John Kennedy (2012-)  How do Russian communities develop social resilience to modern industrial risks. Interdisciplinary empirical social research is required to describe and explain Russian responses (resilience) to industrial risks in the context of post-socialist change.  This will determine how Russian attitudes and behaviour can be situated in existing sociologies of risk and to whether these theories require re-evaluation to encompass a wider variety of reflexive experience to modernity. It is questionable whether concepts of risk and resilience grounded in Western experience are fully applicable to the Russia, despite comparable conditions of industrial danger.  In turn the specificity of ‘modernity’ in Russia may explain resilience in the social and economic context of post-socialism.  It is also necessary to focus on the social consequences of risk in Russia, which, given its unique social and economic experience, may serve to empirically re-evaluate the importance of social embeddedness to theoretical notions of global ‘risk society’ (Atkinson, 2007).

Polina Manolova (2012-)  Bulgarian Emigration and Media: This project seeks to account particularly for the non-economic explanations of  international migration in line with the proposed research question aiming to reveal how the representations of ‘the West’ in Bulgarian popular culture influence peoples’ decisions to migrate. 


Research interests

  • Neoliberalizing postsocialism: social inequality, class and work
  • Social capital theory, reflexivity, governmentality, risk and the entrepreneurial self
  • Virtue ethics (MacIntyre) and moral economies
  • Consumption and material cultures
  • Ethnographic methods, participant observation
  • New media, social networks and activism

Current and recent projects

  • Imagining Development: A Multidisciplinary and Multilevel Analysis of Development Policies and their Effect in the Post-socialist World  €256,000 European Commission Marie Curie International Research Staff Exchange Scheme 2013-2016. Partners: Tallinn University; University of Latvia; University of Fribourg; Renmin University; Guangzhu University of Foreign Studies; Moscow Higher School of Economics; Tbilisi State University
  • New labour activism and unionism in automotive industry: social and cultural issues
  • Working-class cultures and lifeworlds under post-socialism
  • Diverse Economies and Social Networks (Ceelbas-funded Visiting Fellowship to Moscow Higher School of Economics, Summer 2013)

Other activities

Other professional appointments

  • Funding Assessor and Expert Committee Chair, Social Science Programme on Russia NORRUSS, Norwegian Research Council.
  • Management Committee of CEELBAS

 Membership of research associations 

  • European Sociological Association
  • British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies
  • Society for Economic Anthropology
  • European Association of Social Anthropologists
  • Research Associate of Human Economy Programme, University of Pretoria



Inhabiting post-socialism: the remaking of the Russian working-class (2015), 250 pages, under consideration for Cornell University Press

Rethinking Informality: the embedded nature of post-socialist informal
economic practices, (Palgrave, forthcoming 2015). (ed., with A. Polese), 210 pages.

New Media in New Europe Asia, (Routledge 2014 forthcoming), 280 pages. (ed. with N. Rulyova and V. Strukov)

The Informal Post-Socialist Economy: Embedded Practices and Livelihoods, (Routledge - December 2013). (ed., with A. Polese), 188 pages.

Mastering Chaos: The Metafictional Worlds of Evgeny Popov (Oxford: Lang, 2013), 240 pages.

Special Issues of Journals

(ed. with A. Polese) (2014 forthcoming) The Failure and Future of the Welfare-state under Post-socialism, Journal of Eurasian Studies

(ed. with N. Rulyova and V. Strukov) (2012) Special Issue: New Media in New Europe Asia, Europe-Asia Studies 64(8).

Principal & Recent Peer-reviewed Journal articles

'"Welfare States" and Social Policies in Eastern Europe and the Former USSR: Where Informality Fits In?' with Abel Polese, Borbála Kovács, Ida Harboe Journal of Contemporary European Studies, 22(2) 2014.

'The Warm Home of Cacti and Other Soviet Memories: Russian Workers Reflect on the Socialist Period', Central Europe, Vol. 12 No. 1, May 2014, 16–31

(with A. Polese) 'Informal Health and Education Sector Payments in Russian and Ukrainian Cities: Structuring Welfare from Below', European Urban and Regional Studiesonline before print  March 26, 2014, doi:10.1177/0969776414522081.

‘Low Wages and No Dignity: Russian Workers Reflect on the Stark Post-Soviet Choices in Blue-collar Employment’, International Labor and Working-class History 84 (2014).

‘Actually-existing Internet Use in the Russian Margins: Net Utopianism in the Shadow of the ‘Silent Majorities’’, Region 2(2), (2013), 181-200.

‘Unruly Entrepreneurs: Russian Worker Responses to Insecure Formal Employment', Global Labour Journal 3.2 (2012).

‘Beyond Coping: Alternatives to Consumption Within Russian Worker Networks’, Ethnography (13)4 (2012).

‘Learning how to shoot fish on the internet: new media in the Russian margins as facilitating immediate and parochial social needs’, Europe-Asia Studies 64(8) (2012), 1546-64.

‘Introduction: New Media in New Europe-Asia’, Europe-Asia Studies 64(8) (2012), 1349-55. 

'“Independent learning? I came to this university to be taught Russian.” – reporting on a VLE-based project to support self-study,' Rusistika  37 (2012). 

‘Socially Embedded Workers at the Nexus of Diverse Work in Russia: An Ethnography of Blue-Collar Informalization’, International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, 31:11-12 (2011), 619-631. 

‘The Empire Strikes Back: Projections of National Identity in Contemporary Russian Advertising’, Russian Review, 64, (2005), 642-660. (This article, which discusses commodity fetishism, nationalism and masculinity in the post-socialist context, was one of the most cited articles for the decade 2000-2010 in Russian Review).

Recent book chapters

'Introduction: informality – enduring practices, entwined livelihoods' (with A. Polese), in  eds, J. Morris and A. Polese, The Informal Post-Socialist Economy: Embedded Practices and Livelihoods, (Routledge 2013), 1-19.  

'Moonlighting strangers met on the way: the nexus of informality and Blue-collar sociality in Russia' in, eds, J. Morris and A. Polese, The Informal Post-Socialist Economy: Embedded Practices and Livelihoods, (Routledge 2013), 51-67. 

‘Elevating Verka Serdiuchka: A Star-Study in Excess Performativity’ in, eds. H. Goscilo, V. Strukov, Glamour and Celebrity in Post-Soviet Russian Culture, (Routledge 2010).

‘Drinking to the Nation: Russian Television Advertising and Cultural Differentiation’, In, Globalisation, Freedom and the Media after Communism, eds. Birgit Beumers, Stephen Hutchings and Natalia Rulyova. (Routledge, 2009), 141-158.


Russian culture and society; Russian current affairs, everyday life.

Alternative contact number available for this expert: contact the press office

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