Dr. Alena Pfoser
Associated Researcher

Dr. Alena Pfoser
Associated Researcher

Alena Pfoser is a Senior Lecturer in Communication and Media Studies at Loughborough University, UK. Currently she is a visiting researcher at RECET.

Research interests:

  • Memory studies
  • Tourism and heritage industries
  • Comparative research on postsocialist countries
  • Borders and borderlands
  • Qualitative and arts-based methods

Current research project:

"Tourism as memory-making: heritage and memory wars in post-Soviet cities”

Every year several millions of Russians travel abroad for leisure and entertainment. Among their favourite destinations are cities that used to be part of their own state, the Russian empire and the Soviet Union, and that are now located in the independent nation-states bordering Russia. These cities have undergone significant political, economic and social changes since the break-up of the Soviet Union; they have been integrated into global tourism markets, and their histories and material heritage have been nationalised and derussified, unsettling Russians’ relations to places that were once considered part of their own land.
Based on comparative ethnographic research in Tallinn, Kyiv and Almaty, this project provides the first English language account of the cultural politics of Russian tourism to the ‘near abroad’, focusing on the production and contestation of cultural memories in tourism encounters against the backdrop of reconfigured geopolitical relations and on-going tensions between Russia and their neighbours. What cultural memories are produced in direct encounters between tourists and their hosts? What consequences does memory-making in tourism have for present day identities and relations in the regions? Can hospitality characteristic for the tourism industry transform antagonistic relations?

The project is funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ES/R011680/1).

Key publications:

Yusupova, G. and Pfoser, A. (forthcoming) Tourism, memory production and the struggle for a new ethnic hierarchy in post-Soviet Almaty. Europe-Asia Studies.

Pfoser, A. & Keightley, E. (2021) Tourism and the dynamics of transnational mnemonic encounters. Memory Studies 14(2): 125-139.

Schlegel, S. and Pfoser, A. (2021) Navigating contested memories in a commercialised setting: conflict avoidance strategies in Kyiv city tour guiding. International Journal of Heritage Studies 27(5): 487-499.

Pfoser, A. (2020) Memory and everyday borderwork: understanding border temporalities. Geopolitics DOI 10.1080/14650045.2020.1801647.

Pfoser, A. & de Jong, S. (2020) “I’m not being paid for this conversation”: uncovering the challenges of academic-artist collaborations in the neoliberal institution. International Journal of Cultural Studies 23(3): 317-333.

Pfoser, A. (2018) Narrating peripheralisation: place, agency, and generational cohorts in post-industrial Estonia. European Urban and Regional Studies 25(4): 391-404.