GRASSROOTS SOCIOLOGY, DATA HIERARCHIES, AND THE CHALLENGES OF POSING RELEVANT QUESTIONS IN AND ABOUT BELARUS
For years, the Lukashenka regime has been suppressing credible statistics on public opinion and independent sociological reports. As a result, the data on Belarus obtained by local grassroot initiatives, independent researchers, and established institutions both within and outside the country are severely distorted. The essay outlines how sociological work is hindered on many levels in Belarus. It then describes how various groups in the society try to compensate for the deficiency by deducing sociological knowledge from available sources or conducting surveys on the grassroots level. Finally, the text presents arguments for more flexible and sensitive ways to approach empirical data given the major challenges that sociological work faces in the country.
Japanese writer Yoko Ogawa, the author of “The Memory Police”, which was published in her homeland in 1994 and translated into English in 2019, considers memories as a determining factor in people’s personality. “Being stripped of your memories is an act of violence that is perhaps akin to having your very life taken”, she concludes […]
Social anthropologist Andrey Vozyanov, analyzing his own experience and the evidence from his colleagues, reflects on the status of NGO workers in Belarus amidst the ongoing 2020 protests: “According to numerous critics of the protest movement, none of the protesters in Belarus are doing it right. Frustrated by the fact that the protest has not immediately resulted in the regime’s fall, different groups within it are blaming each other.”
OPEN LETTER FROM THE INTERNATIONAL ART COMMUNITY IN CONNECTION WITH THE ARREST OF THE ARTIST NADEZHDA SAYAPINA AND OTHER CULTURAL WORKERS
Nadezhda Sayapina is now free and safe, but many cultural workers – as well as hundreds of other citizens of the Republic of Belarus – remain in prison cells or will get there in the future. We publish this open letter with a video message from Nadezhda alongside with the extensive list of signatures to once again express our solidarity and support.
We consider the actions of the law enforcement agencies to be illicit, inadequate and offensive to the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus, according to which the individual, their rights, freedoms and guarantees for their attainment constitute the main goal and value of the society and the State (article 2 of the Constitution of Republic of Belarus).
In this essay, curator and writer Aleksei Borisionok addresses labor structures and working conditions within the artistic field of the USSR and Eastern Europe, and continues with a closer look at Belarus, focusing on its outrageous “parasitism tax” and the artistic reactions to it.
Alena Chekhovich, a lawyer from a Belarusian human rights organization Human Constanta, examines the Culture Code in detail, discussing in simple terms the concepts of cultural and creative workers, registration and taxation of the activities of creative workers, the process of obtaining a certificate of a creative worker and much more.
Using her project Sauna for the Unemployed as an example, Swedish artist Frida Klingberg talks about her experience in working with self-organized initiatives, comparing and contrasting it to the traditional art world hierarchy, which praises individualism.
Photojournalist and visual artist Maxim Sarychau reflects on financial insecurity and exploitation in the field of art and photojournalism. Are we free fuel? Or did we learn how to say no? “It seems that no state union or existing independent organization can defend our rights today. We all found ourselves in a crystal clear situation: self-organize or die.”