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Elle Dibrova imagePhD candidate

Qualifications: Bachelor of Arts (Sociology) (distinction), Postgraduate Diploma in International Communication, Master of Philology (distinction)

Email elle.dibrova@postgrad.otago.ac.nz

Thesis topic: You don't belong here: othering of LGBT+ people as a part of hegemonic national identity in contemporary Russia
Supervisors: Associate Professor James Headley, Associate Professor Melanie Beres and Associate Professor Vicki Spencer

In my research, I am examining the othering of LGBT+ people in Russia as part of the hegemonic national identity that has been constructed by Putin's political regime since the mid-2000s with the help of various heteronormative state policies. These policies have been essential for the top-down formulation of national belonging along the sexual lines. I am using the concept of sexual citizenship to analyse the traditional values ideology that, under Putin's regime, has become the crucial manifestation of hegemonic national identity, formulating it in strict heteronormative terms.

The empirical part of the research aims to understand how LGBT+ individuals in Russia perceive and experience the influence that hegemonic national identity in the country has on their access to sexual citizenship rights. The study is being conducted under a qualitative umbrella and is aimed at obtaining first-hand reflections on daily and past experiences of LGBT+ people (those living in or who have left Russia) that can illuminate their personal views, meanings, and understandings. I recruited 28 participants who, over six months, had been regularly writing solicited reflective diaries related to their experiences. The diaries amount to roughly 185,000 words.

The research is committed to social justice, and it is hoped that it will help disrupt postulated knowledge that oppresses and marginalises LGBT+ people in Russia. This study will fill in a significant research gap since the amount of existing research in this area is limited.

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