What is it about?

In the context of deindustrialisation, it is important to examine how this global multi-layer process affects everyday life and local atmospheres in former working-class neighbourhoods. It is no less important to understand how current residents of deindustrialising urban areas sense and imagine their places of residence. The article examines these issues with the help of the concept of structure of feeling focusing on a sense of attachment to place and spatial images visualised by working-class and middle-class residents living in two industrial neighbourhoods located in the cities of Moscow and Yekaterinburg, Russia. The research design of the project builds on multi-sited ethnography which combines the mainstream qualitative methods of interviewing and observation with the creative method of a drawing of a neighbourhood, also known as a mental mapping technique. The research has revealed that the Soviet industrial legacy informs an affective attachment to place of both working-class and longstanding middle-class residents. At the same time, Soviet socialist values co-exist (and sometimes conflict) with post-Soviet neoliberal values. These co-existence and conflicts of socialist and neoliberal structures shape the landscapes and local atmospheres in the neighbourhoods studied.

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Why is it important?

The examination of complicated relations between residual/ socialist/ industrial/ Soviet and emergent/ neoliberal/ post-industrial/ post-Soviet structures that regulate everyday life in deindustrialising neighbourhoods contributes to a better understanding of urban change in post-industrial cities, as well as social change in relations between city dwellers. The focus on feelings, senses and imaginaries of deindustrialising neighbourhoods adds an affective perspective to sociology of place and space and urban anthropology.


This article dispels the stereotypes about residents of industrial neighbourhoods which are often stigmatized and demonised. While I was writing it, I tried to convey the local atmospheres of the industrial neighbourhoods and showed the perspectives of research participants, Russia's ordinary people, on urban and social change. The article contains drawings of the neighbourhoods studied made by research participants which as I hope allowed me to explain their feelings towards their places of residence. I develop the argument presented in the article in my forthcoming book 'The urban life of workers in post-Soviet Russia: Engaging in everyday struggle' (Manchester University Press).

Dr Alexandrina Vanke
Russian Academy of Sciences

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This page is a summary of: Co-existing structures of feeling: Senses and imaginaries of industrial neighbourhoods, The Sociological Review, January 2023, SAGE Publications, DOI: 10.1177/00380261221149540.
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