Civil Society and Biopolitics in Contemporary Russia: The Case of Russian “Daddy-Schools”

  • Pelle Åberg Södertörn University and Ersta Sköndal University College
Keywords: Civil society, biopolitics, governmentality, technologies of citizenship, fatherhood, Russia


This article deals with civil society organizations active in the field of family policy and demographic issues in contemporary Russia. This article uses Michel Foucault’s concepts of biopolitics and governmentality and later developments discussing technologies of citizenship. More specifically, using interviews, documents, and participant observations, so-called “daddy-schools” that have emerged in and around Saint Petersburg since 2008, are studied as a mode of governmentality. The analysis shows how the civic initiative studied attempted to empower fathers and how it has altered demographic discourses while approaching similar societal goals as the state does in its biopolitical strategies. Thus, the daddy-schools provide a complementary discourse concerning fatherhood while approaching the same perceived demographic crisis that the Russian state is challenged by.
Special Issue on Civil Society