Jim is an urban and political geographer by training. Currently, his primary research focus is on the possibility of 'democracy from below' and the redefinition of citizenship at the local scale. His regional focus is the former Soviet Union, with particular emphasis on modern Russian society. His dissertation examined the struggle by Moscow-based urban social movements to forge territorialized senses of social and political identity. In addition, the dissertation addressed the role of community space as a forum for public participation.
Jim is currently at work on several papers that synthesize the findings of his dissertation. Within these papers he addresses the relationship between democratization and transformations in the local state, property relations and gender relations. While at IBS he will be collaborating with Professor John O'Loughlin on a new joint research proposal. The aim is to design a project which will address the impacts of social and economic restructuring on both formal and informal political behavior, in order to establish a more comprehensive, and nuanced, picture of the emerging political culture in post-Soviet Russia.