Seminar on trust in post-USSR societies at Uppsala

The seminar will be given by Guido Sechi (University of Latvia).
The debate about the determinants of social capital accumulation in national and sub-national communities is widespread in development studies since the 1990s. In this broad thematical context, a relevant place is occupied by post-socialist transition countries. The peculiarities of fast economic and political transition and their social implications have been widely discussed in literature. Specific issues include: a) the complex relation between informal and formal modes of networking and social engagement; b) the relation between social capital and civil society; c) the role of structural – including institutional – transformation vis-a-vis‘static’ cultural factors in shaping social capital dynamics. All these issues have been widely, albeit not always systematically, studied in the context of post-USSR countries, leading to often controversial results.
The aims of the presentation are: to outline the main theoretical approaches and findings in social capital studies about transitional post-socialist states, in particular Russia; to discuss how the analysis of such a context could benefit, in theoretical-methodological terms, from the general debate about synergic views and multiscale analyses of social capital accumulation dynamics; and to outline preliminary empirical results about the interplay of institutional perception and generalized trust accumulation in Russia and Ukraine.
Guido Sechi is a researcher in Human Geography at the University of Latvia (Riga, Latvia). He has a PhD in Urban and Regional Planning and Development from the Technical University of Bari (Italy). His research interests mainly focus on social dynamics in geographical communities, with an emphasis on the issues of social capital accumulation and its socio-economic, socio-environmental, and cognitive effects. He is currently focusing on the impact of institutional perception on social capital in the post-Soviet space, and on identity dynamics among Central-East European migrant communities in Western Europe.