About

Olga Gurova, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Culture and Learning, The Faculty of Humanities, Aalborg University

I’m a sociologist specializing in consumption, markets and culture. Since 2016, I have been working as an Assistant professor and subsequently as an Associate professor in consumption studies and intercultural encounters at the Aalborg University in Denmark. At the AAU, I’m a member of the Culture and Consumption research group. In addition, I hold a title of docent in sociology from the University of Helsinki in Finland. Prior to that, I worked at the University of Helsinki at a prestigious position of the Academy of Finland fellow. Also, I worked as a docent at the National Research University — Higher School of Economics in St. Petersburg, Russia. Working as a visiting researcher at universities across the world — The New School — Parsons School of Design (USA), Aalto University (Finland), University of Michigan at Ann Arbor (USA), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (USA), Central European University (Hungary) and University of Genova (Italy) – has broadened my international experience. 

Both research and teaching have always been my passion. In my research, I have been interested in discovering why consumers behave the way they do and how their behavior is linked to broader social and cultural structures – politics, media, markets, social structure, as well as to broader processes like neoliberalism’s spread, shifts to diversity and sustainability. Some of my current research interests are politics of consumption in the nation states and globally, consumer nationalism and patriotism, identity politics and fashion, critical approach to sustainability and wearable technology and the future. I’m interested in the global dimension of consumption, but the particular areas of my study include Russia, Finland and more lately – Denmark.

I use interpretive methodologies and ethnographic methods that gain deeper understanding of why things happen the way they do. I’ve worked with visual ethnography, research-based film-making and social network analysis in addition to other methods.

Currently, I am the PI of the research project on wearable technology and sustainability (2018-2021), supported by the AAU’s Talent Management Program. The project aims at analyzing both the production of wearables by designers as well as the consumption by end-users. In this project we experiment with methods of data collection and analysis (ethnographic observation, diaries, interviews, big data scraping, social network analysis) as well as with ways of disseminating academic research (artistic film).

Photo (c): Be in open 2018