GRASSROOTS SOCIOLOGY AND POSSIBILITIES TO POSE RELEVANT QUESTIONS ABOUT BELARUS DURING THE REPRESSIONS
In the early 2020s, international academic interest in Belarus reached, perhaps, an unprecedented level. This was facilitated by the reaction of the country’s authorities to the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, the political mobilization of society before the presidential election in August 2020, the largest protests against the regime, and the scale of violence and repressions. Simultaneously with the surge of interest, critical thought, as well as sociological and anthropological work in Belarus, have been persecuted. The essay outlines obstacles to research practice in Belarus from different perspectives. It describes how groups of Belarusian society are trying to compensate for the lack of sociological data by interpreting figures from the available sources or conducting grassroots surveys and interviews. Attention is drawn to the weaknesses of both grassroots sociology and external interpretations of «authoritative» data (surveys conducted by the research institutes). The text presents arguments in favor of more inclusive, sensitive and horizontal selection of empirical data from Belarus. The conclusion discusses ways to avoid ethnographic silence about Belarus and the conceptual perspectives of the Belarusian case.
Copyright (c) 2021 Andrey Vozyanov
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