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Radical Youth, between ideology, expressivity and violence: Comparisons around the Russian experience

Jeunesses radicales entre idéologie, expressivité et violence : comparaisons autour de l'expérience russe

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Published on Friday, October 07, 2011


Ces journées d'études sur les jeunesses radicales se pencheront sur les différentes dimensions et significations des mouvements de jeunesse radicales, interroger à partir du cas de la Russie, mais avec des comparaisons d'autres pays européens. Plusieurs recherches de terrain seront présentées. Quatre panels marqueront les deux demi-journées, le premier autour du socle idéologique de ces mouvements, le second sur les études de cas empiriques de certains d'entre deux ; Le troisième s'interrogera sur la place et le sens de la violence dans ces mouvements tandis que le dernier laissera voir les dimensions d'expressivité qu'ils peuvent revêtir.


Radical Youth, between ideology, expressivity and violence: Comparisons around the Russian experience, International Workshop, 20 - 21  October 2011, EHESS, Paris

Research project "Understanding Violence in Russia: War, Institutions, Society" with the support of the City of Paris “Emergence(s) programm


  • Centre for the Study of the Russian, Caucasian and Central European Areas (CERCEC-EHESS/CNRS)
  • Centre for Sociological Analysis and Intervention (CADIS-EHESS/CNRS)
  • French Sociological Association - Research Committee 21 Social Movements
  • Research Committee 47 on social classes and social movements, International Sociological Association


Skin-heads, hooligans, extremists, are the labels usually used by the media to name radical youth not only in Russia, but also in European countries, were a radicalization of the youth, and especially the rise of extreme-right movements has been observed for several years. In Russia, the “Manezh square” demonstration of “football fans” and extreme right in front of the Kremlin in December 2011 has shed light on the capacities of mobilization, but also on the different dimensions of these movements. Together with violence against minorities and nationalist slogans, there is  an increasing hostile behavior against State authorities. But among radical youth are also all movements that were born in reaction or protestation against the ultra-rights, and movements shaped by a specific sub culture and individual identity search.

Mainly based on field research undertaken on the Russian field, and interplaying the Russian experience with cases and researches from other several European countries such as France, United Kingdom, Italy, Belgium and Poland, the international workshop “Youth, between ideology, expressivity and violence” will gather leading and young specialists of the radical youth.

We hope to be able to draw some lines of comparison ( between radical expressions all over Europe including Russia. In the Russian case, the rise of Russian contemporary ultra-nationalist movement will be analysed in its social and political context and in its expression such as the riots in Kondopoga in September 2006 and Manezh Square Demonstration. But we understand youth radicality and radical movements in a broader sense, which encompasses ideology, as well as cultural and artistic expressions and a violent behaviour.

We are particularly interested in the combination of a subjective dimension (the experience of a “radical” individual) with a global dimension (the experience of such movements in several countries, the resort to physical violence, the link between age and political and social attitudes).

The participants will present research on various types of youth radicality and radical movements, whether it refers to  "right" or "left" ideologies (radical nationalists, anti-racists or anarchists). The choice of a broad spectrum of movements will help to draw the lines on how to describe “radicality” and “radical movements”.

In this context, the reflection on the role and place of violence (symbolic, physical, use of weapons, etc.) in their practices and ideology will take a large place in our workshop.

The participants will also address the status of empirical research and in such a sensitive context.

The workshop will give the opportunity to analyse the attitudes of youth radical movements to politics and to State authorities, as well as the State reactions to their activities. How these movements do position themselves in relation to their society and how society perceives them? The discussion will stimulate reflection and experiences common to Russia and Europe, by highlighting common features and characteristics of institutional, political and cultural trajectories

Workshop Program : Thursday, 20 october

(salle 640, EHESS, 190-198 avenue de France)

13.00 Welcome

Anne Le Huérou, FMSH, CERCEC, Philippe Bataille, directeur du CADIS/EHESS, Lukasz Jurczyszyn Pultusk Academy of Humanities, CADIS        

Introduction : Antimo Luigi Farro, University of Rome “La Sapienza”, CADIS, ISA Research Committee 47, President

13.30-16.00 I Panel Session: Theories, ideologies and typology of youth radicality and radical mouvements 


  • Race and ethnicity, nationalism and extremism: some comparative historical observations, Mischa Gabowitsch  (research fellow at Einstein Forum)
  • The place of the ultra-nationalists in the Russian society: up to and after the Manezh Square, Alexander Verhovsky (Centre for Information and Analysis “SOVA”, Moscow)
  • Rethinking 'subcultural' lives: Journeys through skinhead, Hilary Pilkington (Warwick University) and Elena Omelchenko (director of the Centre for youth studies of the Higher School of Economics in St.Petersburg)

Discussant: Michel Wieviorka, FMSH Administrator, Professor, EHESS CADIS (to be confirmed)

16.00-16.30 Coffee/Tea break

16.30-18.00 II Panel Session: The role and place of violence in the youth radical movements

  • Panelists :
  • The meaning of violence in the youth radical movements. Study cases in France, Russia and Poland, Lukasz Jurczyszyn (Pultusk Academy of Humanities, CADIS)
  • Violence under the circumstances: a biographical construction of Russian youth militantism, Alexander Bikbov  (Moscow University, Centre Maurice Halbwachs - Paris)

Discussant: Mischa Gabowitsch (research fellow at Einstein Forum)

18.00-18.30 : a summary of the first part of the Workshop in relation to the theories of social movements, Geoffrey Pleyers (Louvain University, CADIS, RT 21 AFS)

Friday, 21 october

(Salle A, Ground floor, EHESS, 190-198 avenue de France)

09.00-10.30 III Panel Session: Studying empirically the youth radicality and radical movements. Fields and researcher’s experience 


  • Les rapports police/jeunes au sein des quartiers impopulaires : analyse d'un processus de "radicalisation réciproque", Manuel Boucher (Laboratory for the Study and Social Research, Rouen)
  • L'escapisme en politique: le cas des militants du NBP et de l'ESM Vera Nikolski (Paris 1 / CESSP)
  • „Taking everything back“. A sociological reading of CasaPound, a far right movement in Italy, Emanuele Toscano, University of Rome and Daniele Di Nunzio, Institute for the Economic and Social Research (IRES)

Discussant: Anne le Huérou, CERCEC

10.30-11.00  Coffee/Tea break

11.00-12.30 To film the Russian field. Projection of two films on Russian radical youth in order to discuss with the authors some reflections about the methodological and ethical issues. 

  • “Vorkuta: A research film”, Directed by Elena Omel'chenko, edited by Dmitrii Omel'chenko, Vorkuta 2007. Elena Elena Omelchenko, director of the Centre for youth studies of the Higher School of Economics, St.Petersburg and Hilary Pilkington, Warwick University, Great-Britain.
  • “Ce que voit Minine”, directed  by Lukasz Jurczyszyn and Marcin Grabowski, Nijni-Novgorod 2010. Lukasz Jurczyszyn, Pultusk Academy of Humanities, CADIS.

12.30-13.00 General Conclusions

Contacts :


  • 198-200 avenue de France (EHESS : M° Quai de la Gare (L6) ou Bibliothèque (L14))
    Paris, France


  • Thursday, October 20, 2011
  • Friday, October 21, 2011


  • mouvements de jeunesse, extrème droite, nationalisme, action radicale


  • Anne LE HUEROU
    courriel : anne [dot] lehuerou [at] free [dot] fr
  • Geoffrey Pleyers
    courriel : Geoffrey [dot] Pleyers [at] uclouvain [dot] be
  • Lukasz Jurczyszyn
    courriel : jurluk [at] ehess [dot] fr

Information source

  • Anne LE HUEROU
    courriel : anne [dot] lehuerou [at] free [dot] fr


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To cite this announcement

« Radical Youth, between ideology, expressivity and violence: Comparisons around the Russian experience », Study days, Calenda, Published on Friday, October 07, 2011, https://calenda.org/205459

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