Tomsk State University
Department of History

634051 Russia, Tomsk, 34, Lenin Ave., room 30

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Lectures on ‘Expert knowledge in politics and international relations’ given at TSU

On May 12–15, 2014, Senior Researcher of the Department of political science (Sheffield University, UK), Marie Curie grant holder Oleg V. Korneev delivered a number of lectures under the title ‘Expert knowledge in politics and international relations’ at the Laboratory for social and anthropological research (TSU). 

Considered within the general part of this interdisciplinary course were theoretical approaches to issues of production and the use of expert knowledge about public problems in state policy and international relations. In particular, this part of the course had to do with the specifics of expert knowledge, its political functions, with the ambiguous character of contract research, the use of expert knowledge by political parties and public authorities. University faculty that followed the course and that often, acting as experts, conduct contract research at the regional level, commissioned by different kinds of organizations and administrations, could get a clearer picture of the functions of expert knowledge and realize that these can be not only instrumental but also symbolic. Ideally, the instrumental function consists in carrying out research commissioned by an organization in the framework of its main activity (the research is done to improve its efficiency), however, in reality, research may be commissioned in order to legitimize the existence of a contracting organization or to use the knowledge produced by experts in a certain context or at a certain time and introduce it to some decisions already made (here the symbolic function comes into play).

During the lectures, also discussed were epistemic communities and associations of professionals in international relations. The special part of the course was dedicated to these issues considered in the context of migration studies and migration policy (case studies considered included UK Government Foresight Studies, MIPEX, CARIM, migration studies in Russia) and international cooperation in the field of migration control (case studies considered – European Migration Network, International Organization for Migration, environmental refugees, and MIRPAL (the World Bank).  

Oleg Korneev also spoke about the organization of higher education in the UK, France, and Italy. He himself is a migrant researcher. The story of his success was of great interest – Oleg is a graduate of the TSU Department of international relations and his experience and some criticism as to how things are organized abroad and in Russia were useful in terms of TSU’s current efforts to enter the world research and educational arena.

To see more on Oleg Korneev’s lectures, go to:

TSU TV report

The project "Man in a Changing World. Identity and Social Adaptation: Past and Present" is funded by the Russian Government
(grant #14.В25.31.0009)
© Laboratory for Social and Anthropoligical Research, 2013

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