According to the data of the World Health Organization, people with disabilities include more than 1 billion. They present a huge part of the humankind and have their own abilities, possibilities, capacities, and potentials. Meanwhile many problems of disabled persons and disability in general are still beyond the academic interests of anthropologists, especially in post-Soviet space, including Russia. Most research in the sphere of Disability Studies in Russia are focused on social care, social work, inclusive education, and social policy dealing with persons with disabilities. Meanwhile anthropological research of cultural traditions, social practices, attitudes towards various impairments as well as anthropological and cross cultural analysis of these phenomena and processes is still scant.
Cultural (ethnic, religious, gender) traditions determine perceptions of disability as a complex social and cultural phenomenon which is constructed in a concrete society in order to control socially stigmatized groups including impaired people who have low statuses – economic, social, cultural and others. .
The situation looks strange if we take into account that anthropologists examine very small ethnic groups and religious communities and exotic subcultures whereas a huge “segment” of population is still terra incognita.
The main goal of our group is studying and analyzing the phenomenon of disability in it biological, medical, social, cultural, and psychological aspects. We also examine this phenomenon in the concrete historical context and cross-cultural dimensions. Including ethnic and religious notions of disability and disabled people, practices dealing with disabilities in traditional and modern societies,, images of impaired people in folklore, traditional and professional arts, fiction, and mass-media.
Members of our Group also investigate attitudes towards people with different disabilities in various cultures and societies, problems of Extraordinary bodies and mentalities, constructing stereotypes dealing with impairments,
Our Group de facto exists from 2015 within the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian Academy of Sciences In 2020 The Group for Anthropology of Disability Research is in the structure of the Institute – see www.iea.ras.ru
It included several Research Fellows of this Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology (Alexandra Frolova, Yulia Fedenok, Natalia Shlyakhtina, Oksana Fais and others). Some people from other academic centers and universities also participated (Elena Nosenko-Stein – Head of the Group, Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow; Igor Savin – Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences; Ann Klepikova – European University of Sankt-Petersburg; Anna Altukhova – European University of Sankt-Petersburg; Elena Lubiankina – European University of Sankt-Petersburg; Lubov Torlopova – independent researcher, Tomsk; Varvara Dobrovolskaya – Center for Russian Folklore Studies, Moscow; Vitaly Lipatov – Russian Governmental Law University, Moscow and others).
Some projects of our group have been supported by the Russian Foundation for Humanities and Russian Foundation for Fundamental Research. Members of the Group examined problems of empathy and aggression towards disabled people, attitudes of different strata of Russian society towards disabilities, problims of families with disabled children in traditional society, marriage preferences of impaired women, life experiences of people with impairments in Russia, problems of disabled people in Kazakhstan, perception of mental illness in mass consciousness and other problems.
Members of the Group for Anthropology of Disability Research participated in many international and Russian congresses and conferences including Conferences of Nordic Network for Disability Research, conference of the ALTER, European Association for Social Studies, Congresses of Russian Anthropologists and Ethnologists, and others.
Regular seminars / webinars dealing with different issues of disabilities are regularly carried out in the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian Academy of Sciences.
Members of our group issued a number of publications including books, articles and chapters in collective monographs. One of our books – “The Back Side of the Moon, pr What We Do Not Know About Disability (Theory, Methods, life Practices)” / Ed. by A. Kurlenkova nad E. Nosenko-Stein (Moscow, 2018) can be found on this web-site.
Our Group also co-operates with colleagues, different academic centers and Universities in Russia (Moscow, Sankt-Petersburg, Tomsk, Nizhny Novgorod) and abroad – Great Britain, the USA, Sweden.
Members of our Group –
Elena Nosenko-Stein – Head of the Group for Anthropology of Disability Research, Senior Researcher, Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences; Moscow.
Anna – Altukhova – Lecturer, European University of Sankt-Petersburg;
Alexandra Frolova – Senior Researcher, Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian Academy of Sciences;
Anna Klepikova Senior Lecturer, European University of Sankt-Petersburg;
Igor Savin – Senior Researcher, Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow;
Lubov Torlopova – independent researcher, Tomsk.
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