Due to profound socioeconomic and political changes in post-Soviet Russia, the number of families viewed as neblagopoluchnye and 'unfit' for bringing up their children is increasing, and so is the number of children without parental care. To protect children from the harmful influence of their 'unfit' parents and to ensure a better future for them, state agents remove children from their families placing them in residential care institutions. Yet the nature of parenting in state care, the absence of inter-generational support and the lack of networks for family support and assistance render some of these young people ill equipped to deal successfully with the difficulties and uncertainties of post-Soviet social realities. Usually the state agents hold care-leavers responsible for their maladjustment and place the former residents' children in residential care institutions. This leads to the creation of whole 'dynasties' of institutionalised individuals. This article outlines some concepts and practices of child removal, demonstrating that both are still underpinned by Soviet values. Institutional experiences as narrated by former residents illustrate the genesis of difficulties in post-institutional adjustment.
Social orphans and the neblagopoluchnaia family
The cycle of child displacement in the Russian north
Elena Khlinovskaya Rockhill
On Interdisciplinarity and Models of Knowledge Production
Elena Khlinovskaya Rockhill
The six UK Genetics Knowledge Parks (GKPs) were shaped and governed by two frameworks: a 'need' to harness 'new genetics' and the relations of accountability as seen in the context of entrepreneurial government. The remit of the Cambridge GKP (CGKP) was to develop public health genetics by building on the concepts of partnership and interdisciplinarity. In the course of its work, the CGKP emphasized the virtues of 'change management', seen as distinct from, and opposed to, an academic model of knowledge production. However, the model that the CGKP actually created was a research/management hybrid that resisted quality assurance checks developed for each model (research and management), presenting a formidable challenge for the evaluation and assessment of the CGKP's work.
Family on the Edge
Neblagopoluchnaia Family and the State in Yakutsk and Magadan, Russian Federation
Lena Sidorova and Elena Khlinovskaya Rockhill
This paper addresses the notion and category of neblagopoluchnaia family in Yakutsk, Russian Federation, analyzing the ways in which this category is constructed and reproduced. Although this term is not defined in any jural and legal documents, it is widely applied in practice. The authors follow the process of marginalization of families through their increasing symbolic and geographic remoteness. These families constitute the category of neblagopoluchnaia family and include former village dwellers and urban families, irrespective of their ethnicity and gender, although the vast majority are mothers. As soon as such families become visible and fail to meet criteria for “good” parenting, they are demonized using the category of neblagopoluchnaia family as a tool, and their children are taken away. Personal and family difficulties due to symbolic and structural violence are not taken into consideration. Scapegoating parents facilitates social exclusion, expelling parents from moral community, and increasing, but justifying, the production of children without parental care.