East is East: Understanding Criminology's Comparative Neglect of the Former Soviet Union
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Gavin Slade is Associate Professor and Chair of Sociology and Anthropology at Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan. His most recently completed project was a comparative study of prison gangs under conditions of reform in the former Soviet Union - Lithuania, Moldova, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan. The results of this have been published in the British Journal of Criminology, Theoretical Criminology and the European Journal of Criminology. He is a Co-I on a current project (www.gulagshadow.org) which concerns societal and elite attitudes, perceptions and cultural consumption of prisons in the former Soviet Union, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council of the UK.
Laura Piacentini is a multi-award-winning Professor of Criminology at the School of Social Work and Social Policy at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow.
A Russian speaker, Laura is the first Westerner to conduct empirical and theoretical research in post-USSR jails. Her doctorate was the first research council funded PhD on incarceration in contemporary Russia and she has been researching and publishing on this subject for nearly thirty years since then. She is also a trained sociologist engaged in multi-disciplinary research that includes fields such as human geography, political science, law, and criminology and has been Co-I or PI on numerous studies of post-Soviet penal culture. With Professor Slade, Laura is the lead on the major prison study funded by ESRC: “In the Gulag’s Shadow: Producing, Consuming and Perceiving prisons in the former USSR”. This unique project seeks to produce global criminology’s first empirical and theoretical study of Russian penal culture. In 2014, Professor Piacentini was appointed a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and appointed Fellow at "AcademiaNet" for leading European Women Scholars, established by Angela Merkel then the Chancellor of Germany. Laura’s next book published by Routledge is out in April 2022. It is called ‘The Virtual Reality of Imprisonment in Russia; “Preparing myself for prison in a contested human rights landscape’ and it is co-authored with Dr Elena Katz (Oxford and Helsinki).