Social anthropologist Tobias Köllner on the interplay between the Orthodox religion and politics in contemporary Russia

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Tobias Köllner. Publicity photo
Tobias Köllner. Publicity photo

On Tuesday, February 26, at 18.00 social anthropologist Tobias Köllner will give a public talk "On 'Entangled Authorities': The Interplay between Orthodox Religion and Politics in Contemporary Russia". The event will take place at the Baltic Research Centre for East Asian Studies (ASIARES) Reading Room (Level M), National Library of Latvia. Event language: English. Admission free.

Tobias Köllner: "Based on my ethnographic fieldwork in the Russian Federation, I have developed the concept of 'entangled authorities'. With the idea of entangled authorities, two major shortcoming in recent research on politics and Russian Orthodoxy are emphasized. First, there has been a tendency to focus on cooperation and entanglements, neglecting unintended consequences and conflict. Recent research, however, has analyzed the limits of this cooperation, showing it to be far from harmonious. Therefore, it is more useful to describe the interplay between politics and Russian Orthodoxy as a rivalry for scarce resources and authority in a fast changing society. This, at times, allows for close cooperation but does not prevent conflicts and competition. Furthermore, at least three different forms of entanglements have been intermingled which have to be delineated and analyzed separately: personal, ideological and institutional entanglements. Only then, I suggest, will we be able to describe, analyze and grasp the interplay between Russian Orthodoxy and politics more completely and accurately."

Tobias Köllner received his PhD in social anthropology in 2011 from the University of Leipzig, based on his research on Russian entrepreneurs and their relations to Russian Orthodoxy. In 2013, he received a grant from the German Research Foundation and since then has been working on a research project "The interrelationship between religion and politics in contemporary Russia". He currently works at the Witten/Herdecke University, Witten, Germany. Tobias Köllner is the author of "Orthodox Religion and Politics in Contemporary Eastern Europe: On Multiple Secularisms and Entanglements" (Routledge, 2019) and "Practising Without Belonging? Entrepreneurship, Morality, and Religion in Contemporary Russia" (Lit and Transaction Publishers, 2012).

The event will take place in the "Narrating the Human" series, co-organized by the Latvian Association of Anthropologists, the National Library of Latvia, and Rīga Stradiņš University.


Contact information:
Ieva Puzo
Latvian Association of Anthropologists