Egor Sokolov

DPhil Candidate, Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages, University of Oxford.

New College. Hill scholar.

MA in History, with distinction, Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences (validated by the University of Manchester).

Specialist (MA equiv.) in Philosophy, with distinction, Moscow State University.


In my DPhil, I shall investigate the late Soviet cultural studies as a focal point of scholar and identity practices constitutive for the late Soviet intelligentsia. The subject of my research is twofold. On the one hand, it is a wide-spread intellectual practice referring to numerous subdiciplines such as philosophy, sociology and cultural history, semiotics, “poetics” and “aesthetics” studies etc. (“culturology” was not institutionalized as an academic discipline until the 1990s). On the other hand, it is the social practice of forming “informal groups”, “circles” and “seminars” where intellectual reputations and hierarchies were established. My hypothesis is that cultural studies of the 1970–1980s served as a specific form of academic knowledge as well as a means of self-description and shaping identity for the late Soviet intelligentsia. Unlike the “cultural turn” in the European and American social sciences that problematized cultural hierarchies and symbolic domination, Soviet intellectuals had a predominantly normative approach to culture contrasting culture and “unculture” and affirming the “universal” value of the “classics”. At the same time, they construed it as a kind of a safe space or a space of “inside-outsideness”, an opportunity to escape the Soviet “mirror-world” and to quench the “nostalgia for world culture”. Thus, the notion of culture functioned as a scholarly concept and an ethical and political regulator. I hope that research on late Soviet culture studies and the milieu of their protagonists will help me describe the constellation of research and social practices specific to the late Soviet intelligentsia.


From 2010, I performed various administrative tasks at the Faculty of Philosophy (MSU), mostly PR-related, and in 2013, I started lecturing at the Department of Cultural Studies within that Faculty. During the following eight years, formally occupying an administrative position, I developed and taught several courses, such as “History of the Modern Age Culture”, “History of the Body”, “Methods and Techniques of the Field Study of Culture” and others.

At the same time, I was dedicated to expanding the range of my methods, studying various phenomena of modern culture through the lens of critical discourse analysis and gender theory. For instance, I published an article on the gender models in the video games for young children in the “Novoe Literaturnoe Obozrenie” and two articles on the Russian discourses of danger and moral panic around video games. I also continued to pursue my student interest in philosophy and theory of war, gradually shifting from general theorizing to analysing discursive structures and pragmatics of different texts. Among others, I published an article on the reception of Karl von Clausewitz’s war theory in the USSR.

I was still interested in philosophy, but as in a subject of research that had to be dissected with the help of sociology, social anthropology and cultural studies. Starting from 2014, I took part in the collective research of Soviet and contemporary Russian philosophy. This work resulted, primarily, in the articles on Merab Mamardashvili I published in “Logos”, one of the leading Russian humanitarian journals. In one of those articles, I looked into the philosophical ideas of “early” Mamardashvili in connection with his professional trajectory, and in another one, I analysed various strategies of professionalization of Soviet philosophy that he used as an author of anonymous editorials in the main Soviet philosophical journal “Voprosy Filosofii” (Philosophy Issues).

I came to the conclusion that I lacked historical knowledge, and in 2018 I got into the Master’s program “History of Soviet Civilization” (validated by the University of Manchester) at the School of Social and Economic Sciences. I graduated with distinction in 2020 and received two Master’s degrees in history, the Russian and the British one.

In my Master’s thesis, I focused on the discursive technique and social logic of sacralization in the (post-) Soviet intellectual circles on the example of Merab Mamardashvili, drawing on “The Political Ontology of Martin Heidegger” by Pierre Bourdieu as the main guidance for my research strategy. Professor Andrey Zorin was my research advisor, and his support and inspiring example encouraged me to send my application to one of the best universities in the world.

In 2011–2013, I was both a participant and a researcher of political protests in Russia. I published an article on the forms of political representation of protests in “Neprikosnovenny Zapas” (Reserve Stock). I continued to participate in political protests in Moscow for ten years. Last time that I came to antiwar manifestation was on the 27 of February 2022. In early March, I left Russia due to the criminal war waged by Putin’s regime in Ukraine. In Yerevan, Armenia, I have joined the independent research group “After 24” which is conducting sociological research of the current wave of Russian migration to Armenia and Georgia. I have started to examine the Russian migration during the war, especially the emotions and civil activity of political emigrants. I seek to demonstrate that a close linkage between political events and personal experience, and the inseparability of political or civil activity from emotions are indicative of major shifts in Russian political activism.


1.         Игры, которые нас убивают: видеоигры и насилие в дискурсе российской печатной прессы // Социология власти, 2020. Том 32. № 3. С. 165-188.

Games That Kill Us: Video Games and Violence in the Russian Printed Media Discourse // Sociology of Power, 2020. Vol. 32. No 3. P. 165-188.

2.         Танки и поцелуи: гендерные модели в играх для маленьких детей // Новое литературное обозрение, 2019. No 4 (158). С. 256–266.

Tanks and Kisses: Gender Models in Games for Young Children // New Literary Review, 2019. No 4 (158). P. 256–266.

3.         Современность войны: Карл Клаузевиц и его теория // Логос, 2019. No 3 (130). С. 67-98.

Modernity of War: Carl von Clausewitz and His Theory // Logos, 2019. No 3 (130). P. 67– 98.

4.         Философия передовиц. Мераб Мамардашвили как советский философ // Логос, 2017. No 6 (121). С. 1–22.

Philosophy of Editorials. Merab Mamardashvili as a Soviet Philosopher // Logos, 2017. No 6 (121). P. 1–22.

5.         Рождение современной войны // Вопросы философии, 2015. No 12. С. 175–186.

The Birth of Modern War // Problems of Philosophy, 2015. No 12. P. 175–186.

6.         Война как бриколаж // Калдор М. Новые и старые войны: организованное насилие в глобальную эпоху. – М.: Изд-во Института Гайдара, 2015. С. 7-19.

War as Bricolage (foreword) // Kaldor M. New and Old Wars: Organized Violence in the Global Age. – Moscow: Gaidar Institute Publishing House, 2015. P. 7–19.

7.         Счастье предателя: как говорят о компьютерных играх? // Логос, 2015. No 1 (103). С. 157-179.

A Traitor’s Luck: Debates on Video Games // Logos, 2015. No 1 (103). P. 157–179.

8.         “Вы нас даже не представляете”: формы политического представления протеста // Неприкосновенный запас, 2014. No 5 (97). С. 133-146.

“You Don’t Even Represent Us”: the Forms of Political Representation of Protest // Reserve Stock, 2014. No5 (97). P. 133–146.

9.         Академическое сообщество: политика и границы. Случай Мераба Мамардашвили // Логос, 2014. No 2 (98). С. 65–88.

The Academic Community: Politics and Boundaries. The Case of Merab Mamardashvili // Logos, 2014. No 2 (98). P. 65–88.

10.       Оружие и тело: (не)уязвимость как социальное отличие // Вопросы философии, 2013. No 12. С. 155–164.

Weapon and Body: Vulnerability and Invincibility as Indicatives of Social Differences // Problems of Philosophy, 2013. No 12. P. 155–164.

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