The layered cake of neighborness

Russia, Finland, and neighboring relations at different scales
We all have neighbors, with whom we share the entryway, the house, the street or the district. City neighbors or even country neighbors. And we ourselves are the neighbors for someone, since the neighborness s universal and, whether we like it or not, is always mutual.

Since February 2017 CISR* researchers with colleagues from other institutions in Russia and Finland, with the support of Koné Foundation (Finland), are implementing "The layered cake of neighborness" research project: Russia, Finland, and neighboring relations at different scales.
Our project is devoted to exploring the neighborness in its various manifestations. We take an interest in the place and role of neighbors in today's life and in historical perspective. We study the meanings and functions of neighborly relations, situations of conflict and neighbors' self-organization, forms of neighborly communication, emotions, sounds, smells, neighborship signs and much more.
The peculiarity of the project is in its Russian-Finnish geography.
A lot of attention in the project is paid to the study of the culture of neighboring in modern St. Petersburg. However, St. Petersburg, as a multitude of neighborhoods and neighboring practices in itself, is just the starting point for our interest that extends far beyond the city borders to the border areas of Leningrad Region, Karelia and Finland, reaching Helsinki. Neighborness for us is a "Russian doll" of mutual relations of different scales, from communication between elderly ladies sitting on a bench in front of a house in a residential area of St. Petersburg, to passport control at the Finnish border and Russian language in Helsinki stores.
Project goals
To investigate the phenomenon of neighborness with social science methods and answer the question: "What does it mean to be the neighbors in the modern world?"
To gather neighborly practices as a form of productive coexistence and identify problems of neighbors' interactions
To involve a wider audience in the conversation about neighborness by translating academic knowledge into the language of art
The project consists of four subprojects, each of which has a separate research agenda:
  • Participants: sociologists and anthropologists from Russia and Finland, curators and artists from Russia.
  • Methods: qualitative — interviewing, observation, description, mobile methods (go along), media content analysis (forums' analysis) and others.
  • Field locations:
    St. Petersburg, pos. Pervomayskoye (Vyborg district of the Leningrad region), Northern Priladozhie (Sortavala and its environs).
    Helsinki, Imatra, Lappeenranta, Tohmajärve.
  • Dates: April 2017 - March 2019
«The layered cake II: the sequel»
as a part of the Russian-Finnish research project
"The layered cake of neighborness" focuses on relationships between people. However, people are not the only possible neighborship subjects; in everyday life, we share living space with many other living creatures: animals, insects, microbes, viruses.

Relationships with a number of non-human beings create a separate field of life experience and a whole range of special policies, practices and emotions.
Beginning spring of 2019, a new direction has been added to the project devoted to the study of the coexistence of people and non-humans in the space of modern cities. Topics are currently being determined — stay tuned!

Dates: "Layer Cake - II" - March 2019 - February 2022

The project is supported by the KONE Foundation (Finland)
With support of
* By decision of the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation, the CISR is included in the register of non-profit organizations performing the functions of a foreign agent (7-FL "On non-profit organizations")