Maxim Alyukov is a researcher with the Public Sociology Laboratory and a PhD Candidate in Faculty of Arts at the University of Helsinki. He started his career as an engineer and then turned to psychoanalysis: Maxim was a curator at Freud’s Dream Museum, and an editor, author or translator working for several Russian journals focused on Lacanian psychoanalysis. Currently he takes part in a number of PS Lab projects on civil society, protest movements, and war in the post-communist world, as well as working on a dissertation about Russian TV viewers during the political crisis in Ukraine. Maxim holds Specialist degrees in engineering from the State Marine Technical University, and in psychology from the East European Institute of Psychoanalysis, as well as an MA degree in sociology from the European University at St.Petersburg.
Maxim’s research interests can be roughly divided into two parts. the first is media studies and political communication. His MA dissertation was about art-activism as a way to mobilize publics and to build alternative (counter) public spheres. In the PhD dissertation this interest was transformed into more traditional political communication research. In order to question both the widespread accounts of Russian citizens as conservative, exposed to the myth of national grandeur and, thus, prone to media effects, and the overly positive approach that pictures TV viewers as critical analysts successfully deciphering news, the dissertation employs the toolkit of communication research and social psychology (link 1, link 2). It shows that viewers engage both critical (systematic) and semi-automatic (heuristic) approaches to TV news depending on context, and their exposure to media effects is a result of the absence of a safe environment for discussion rather than of the intrinsic features of the viewers themselves. Second, as a member of the the PS Lab, Maxim is involved in a number of projects related to the Bolotnaya protest in Russia, Maidan and Anti-Maidan mobilizations in Ukraine, and the war in Donbass. He is interested in such issues as collective identity, social justice and the articulation of social justice agendas, and the ways they are transformed by the post-Soviet context.