Professor Svetlana Stephenson
Svetlana Stephenson is a Professor in Sociology in the School of Social Sciences She is chair of the School of Social Sciences Research Ethics Review Panel and convener of the University’s Interdisciplinary Research Forum.
Senior Professor in Sociology

Svetlana Stephenson

Professor Stephenson began her career at the Russian Centre for Public Opinion Research (now the Levada Centre) and as a Leverhulme Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Essex. She joined London Metropolitan University in 2002.
Professor Stephenson researches social transformation and social control in a comparative context. Svetlana currently studies the rituals of public shaming in the Soviet Union and modern-day Russia. This research combines anthropological, sociological and criminological theory to address the use of public shaming as a tool of social control. She is a member of the Global Diversities and Inequalities Centre.
Professor Stephenson teaches in the School of Social Sciences on sociology and criminology modules, including "Self and Society", "Youth Resistance and Social Control", and "Sociology Dissertations".


  • Stephenson, S. (2015). Gangs of Russia: from the streets to the corridors of power, New York: Cornell University Press; Winner of the Alexander Nove Prize, awarded by the British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies (BASEES) for scholarly work of high quality in Russian, Soviet and post-Soviet studies
  • Walker, C., Stephenson, S. (eds) (2012), Youth and social change in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, London and New York: Routledge.
  • Leach, P., Hardman, H., Stephenson, S. and Blitz, B. (2010), Responding to Systematic Human Rights Violations: an Analysis of ‘Pilot Judgements’ of the European Court of Human Rights and their Impact at National Level, Intersentia.
  • Stephenson, S. (2006), Crossing the Line. Vagrancy, Homelessness and Social Displacement in Russia, Ashgate, Aldershot. 
  • Stephenson, S. (1998) Detskaya besprizornost’: sotsialniye aspekti  (po materialam sociologicheskogo issledovaniya v Moskve 1997-1998) [Street children: Social Aspects. The Results of a Moscow Survey, 1997-1998]. INION RAN, Moscow.
  • Stephenson, S. (1997) Bezdomnie v sotsialnoi strukture bolshogo goroda [The Homeless in the Urban Social Structure]. INION RAN, Moscow. 

Refereed Publications

  • Stephenson, S. (2020) “A ritual civil execution”: Public shaming meetings in the post-Stalin Soviet Union,  Journal of Applied Social Theory, forthcoming
  • Stephenson, S. (2019) Gangs and governance in Russia: the paradox of law and lawlessness, Global Crime,  Vol. 20, No. 2, 115-133
  • Stephenson, S. (2017) It takes two to tango: the state and organized crime in Russia, Current Sociology, Vol. 65, No. 3, pp. 411-426
  • Stephenson S. (2016), Russian bandit gangs, their moral code and practices of violence, Mir Rossii, Vol. 25, no 1, pp. 35–54
  • Stephenson, S. (2016), Russlands echte Kerle. Die Gang als Lebensform und Politikmodell [Russia's real guys. The gang as a life form and policy model] , OSTEUROPA, vol. 66, no 5, pp.3-17.
  • Stephenson, S. (2015), Zhisn’ po poniatiiam. “Real’nye patsany” i ikh moral’nye pravila [Life on the basis of the “notions”. The “real lads” and their moral rules], Neprikosnovennyi Zapas, No.5 (1103),
  • Stephenson, S. (2014), Отвъд съпротивата: размисли върху руската улична младеж [Beyond Resistance: Some Reflections on Russian Street Youth], Critique and Humanism, Vol. 43, No. 1-2, pp. 159-171.
  • Stephenson, S. (2012) The violent practices of youth territorial groups in Moscow, Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 64, No.1, pp.69-90.
  • Stephenson, S. (2011), The Kazan Leviathan. Russian street gangs as agents of social order, The Sociological Review, Vol. 59, No.2, pp.324-347.
  • Walker, C. and Stephenson, S. (2010), Youth and social change in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, Journal of Youth Studies, Vol. 13, No. 5, pp. 521-532.
  • Stephenson, S. (2001) Street children in Moscow: using and creating social capital. The Sociological  Review, Vol. 49, No. 4, pp.530-547 ; also published in Croatian in Croatian Journal of Social Policy (2006, vol.13, issue 2)
  • Stephenson, S. (2000) Public beliefs in the causes of wealth and poverty and legitimisation of inequalities in Russia and Estonia, Social Justice Research, Vol. 13, No. 2, pp. 83-100.
  • Burgoyne, C., Routh, D. and Sidorenko-Stephenson, S. (1999) Perceptions, attributions and policy in the economic domain: a theoretical and comparative analysis. International Journal of Comparative Sociology , Vol. 40, No.1,  pp.79-93.
  • Kim, B.-Y.and Sidorenko-Stephenson, S.(1999) Economic experience and market commitment in the 1996 Russian Presidential elections. Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 51, No. 3, pp. 467-482.
  • Mason, D.S. and Sidorenko-Stephenson, S. (1999) Nostalgic and statist, yet pro-market and pro-Yeltsin: public opinion in Russia, 1991-1996. Slavic Review, No 56, pp. 699-717.
  • Marshall,G., Roberts, S. and Sydorenko, S. (1995) Intergenerational social mobility in communist Russia, Work, Employment and Society,  No. 9 , pp. 1-27, reprinted in G. Marshall, Repositioning Class, Sage, London, 1997.
  • Mason, D.S and Sydorenko, S. (1990) Perestroyka, social justice and Soviet public opinion, Problems of Communism, November – December, pp.34-44, reprinted in Urban, M., ed., Ideology and System Change in the USSR and East Europe, St Martins, New York, 1992.


  • Stephenson, S., Decker, S., Irwin-Rogers, K., Rostami, A., and Van-Hellemon, E. (2019) European street gangs and urban violence, in Handbook on Global Urban Health, London: Routledge. 
  • Stephenson, S. (2019) State and private violence in Russia, in Hall, T. and Scalia, V., eds. A Research Agenda in Global Crime, Edward Elgar, pp. 122-132.
  • Stephenson, S. and Zakharova E. (2017), Criminal community, youth street organizations and illicit territorial regulation in Moscow and Tbilisi, in Chiodelli F., Hall T. and Hudson R., eds. Corrupt Places: The Illicit in the Governance and Development of Cities and Regions, London: Routledge, pp.74-92..
  • Stephenson, S. (2017), The Normal lads, in Ledeneva, A., ed. The Global Encyclopaedia of Informality, London: UCL Press. 
  • Stephenson, S. (2014), “The Lad is Always Right”: Street Youth Groups in Russia as Local Elites. in The Subcultures Network eds., Subcultures, Popular Music and Social Change, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, pp.235-250.
  • Stephenson, S. (2014), Social divisions in Russia, in S.White, R.Sakwa and H.E.Hale, eds., Developments in Russian Politics 8, London: Palgrave MacMillan.
  • Stephenson, S. (2008), Searching for home. Street youth and organized crime in Russia, in D.Brotherton and M.Flynn, eds, Globalizing the Streets. Cross- Cultural Perspectives on Youth, Social Control, and Empowerment, New York: Columbia University Press, pp.78-92.
  • Stephenson, S. (2008), Russian gangs, in D.Brotherton and L.Kontos, eds. Encyclopedia of gangs, Greenwood Press, pp. 214-216.
  • Stephenson, S. (2008), The dog that could not bark, in R.Sollund, ed., Global HarmsSpeciesism and Ecological Crime, Nova Publishers,  pp.151-166; also published in Russian in the Russian Journal of Social Policy Research (2010, Vol. 8, issue 2).
  • Stephenson, S. (2003), Street children in Moscow: using and creating social capital. In T.Horowitz, B. Kotik-Friedgut, S. Hoffman (eds.) From Pacesetters to Dropouts: Post-Soviet Youth in Comparative Perspective, New York: The Rowan and Littlefield.
  • Stephenson, S. (2003) Homelessness in Russia: the mechanisms of social displacement, in R Bradshaw , N Manning and S Thompstone (eds), After the Fall: Central and Eastern Europe since the Collapse of Communism, St.Petersburg – Nottingham, Olearius Press, pp. 174-192.
  • Stephenson, S. (2001) The abandoned children of Russia: from “privileged class” to “underclass”. In Webber, S. and Liikanen, I. eds. Education and Civic Culture in Post-Communist Countries. Palgrave, Basingstoke and SSEES, London, pp.187-203.
  • Stephenson, S. (2000) Civil society and its agents in the postcommunist world – the case of the Russian voluntary sector, in Dean, H., Sykes, R. and Woods, R., eds.,  Social Policy Review 12, pp 272-294, Newcastle: Social Policy Association. 
  • Sidorenko-Stephenson, S. (2000) Prostitution and young people in Russia. In D.Barrett with E.Barrett and N.Mullenger, eds., Youth Prostitution in the New Europe. A Growth in Sex Work, Russell House Publishing, pp. 108-126.
  • Stephenson, S. and Khakhulina, L. (2000) Russia: changing perceptions of social justice. In  D.S. Mason, J.R. Kluegel et al., eds. Marketing Democracy: Changing Opinion About Inequality and Politics in East Central Europe. Rowman and Littlefield, pp. 77-97.
  • Stephenson, S. (2000) The Russian homeless: old problem, new agenda. In S. Hutton and J.Redmond, eds, Poverty in Transition Economies. Routledge, London, pp.14-34.
  • Mason, D.S. and Sidorenko-Stephenson, S. (1999) Changing public perceptions and the crisis of confidence in the state: the Yeltsin legacy. In Smith G.B., ed. State-Building in Russia: The Yeltsin Legacy and the Challenge of the Future. M.E.Sharpe, Armonk and London, pp. 155-176.        
  • Burgoyne, C, Roberts, S., Routh, D. and Sydorenko, S.(1994) Loose morals and drunkenness: explanations for success and failure in East and West. In G. Antonides and van Raaij, W.F., eds., Integrating Views on Economic Behavior. Erasmus University, Rotterdam, pp. 264-279.

Other publications 

  • Stephenson, S. (2012), The poetry and prose of Russian elections, Radical Philosophy, 173 (May-June), pp.2-7.
  • With Walker, C. (2010) Co-editor of the special issue of the Journal of Youth Studies, Vol. 13, No.5.
  • Leach, P,  Hardman, H. and Stephenson, S. (2010), Can the European Court’s Pilot Judgment Procedure help resolve systemic human rights violations? Burdov and the failure to implement domestic court decisions in Russia, Human Rights Law Review, 10:2, 346-359
  • Stephenson, S. and Danilova, E. (2009), Down to Earth. De-temporalization in capitalist Russia, Radical Philosophy, 159, pp. 33-37
  • Hallsworth, S. and Stephenson, S. (2008), A tale of two utopias, Criminal Justice Matters, Vol. 74, no.1, pp.24-25.
  • Stephenson, S. (2007), Homelessness and social transformation in Russia, Social and Demographic Change and Homelessness, FEANTSA, August, pp.19-20.
  • Herrmann, P., Stephenson, S. and Geoghegan, M. (2002), New citizenship by new ways of economic integration, Social Work in Europe, Vol. 9, No.2, pp.23-37.
  • Stephenson, S. (2002) Child labour in the Russian Federation, International Labour Organisation working paper, Geneva.
  • Sidorenko-Stephenson, S. (2000) Elite and lumpen-proletariat of the streets: the differing destinies of Moscow street children, Prism, The Jamestown Foundation monthly on Post-Soviet Affairs,  No.4,  Part 4.
  • Sidorenko-Stephenson, S (1999) Legal reform and human rights in Russia: key developments and actors. Papers in the Theory and Practice of Human Rights, 22, Human Rights Centre, University of Essex.
  • Sidorenko-Stephenson, S. (1998) Russian children and their rights. Newsletter of the British-Russian Law Association, April, pp. 3-5.
  • Khakhulina, L. and Sidorenko-Stephenson, S. (1998) Inequality and justice. Sociological Research, Vol. 37, No. 2, pp.38-49.
  • Sidorenko-Stephenson, S. (1997) Market values and non-market institutions: implications for transition, Security and democracy in transition societies. Conference proceedings. University of Essex: Forum on Central and Eastern Europe, pp. 367-368.
  • Mason , D.S., Orkeny, A. and Sidorenko-Stephenson, S. (1997)  Increasingly fond memories of the grim past, Transition, Vol. 3, No 5 , pp.15-19.

Publications in Russian

  • Stephenson, S. (2015), Zhisn’ po poniatiiam. “Real’nye patsany” i ikh moral’nye pravila [Life on the basis of the “notions”. The “real lads” and their moral rules], Neprikosnovennyi Zapas, No.5 (1103)
  • Gromov, D. and Stephenson, S. (2009) Patsanskie pravila. Na materialakh moskovskogo regiona, 1980-2000 gody. [The Gangs' Rules. Analysis of the materials from the Moscow region, 1980s-2000s], in D.V Gromov, ed. Molodyozhnie Ulichnie Gruppirovki. Vvedenie v problematiku, Moscow: Institut Etnologii i Antropologii RAN, pp.94-123.
  • Stephenson, S.A. (2009) Rebiata s nashego dvora. Ulichnie podrostkovo-molodyozhnie kompanii Moskvy [The Guys from our courtyard. Street youth groups in Moscow], in D.V.Gromov and M.Yu Martynova, eds. Molodyozhnie subkultury Moskvy, Moscow: Institut Etnologii i Antropologii RAN, 195-223.
  • Gromov, D.V., Stephenson, S.A. (2008), Patsanskiie pravila: normirovanie povedeniia v ulichnykh gruppirovkakh [Informal male rules: Norms of conduct in street  youth groups], in M.Yu.Martynova and N.M.Lebedeva (eds), Molodie moskvichi. Krosskulturnoe issledovanie. Moscow , RUDN, pp. 427-456.
  • Stephenson, S. (2008), Obychnie patsany. Podrostkovo-molodyozhnie gruppirovki v Moskve [“Ordinary guys” Street territorial groups in Moscow], Ethnograficheskoe obozrenie, No.1, pp.30-41.
  • Stephenson, S. (2006), Kazanskii Leviathan: Molodyozhnie territorialnie gruppirovki i problema sotsialnogo poriadka [The Kazan Leviathan: Youth Street Gangs and the Problem of Social Order], Otechestvennie Zapiski, Vol. 30, No.3, pp. 97 - 110.
  • Stephenson, S. (2006), Bezdomnost’ [Homelessness], The Russian Encyclopedia, Moscow: Russian Encyclopedia.
  • Stephenson, S. (2000) Ulichniye deti i sotsialnii capital tenevikh gorodskikh soobschestv [Street children and the social capital of informal street communities], Sotsiologicheskii zhurnal, No.3/4, pp.87-97.
  • Stephenson, S. (1998) Prichiny i posledstviya detskoi bezdomnosti [Causes and Consequences of Child Homelessness], Kuda idet Rossiya? Transformatsiya sotsial'noi sfery i sotsial'naya politika", 5yi mezhdunarodnyi simpozium 16-17 yanvarya1998, Delo, Moscow, pp. 196-199.
  • Stephenson, S. (1997) Bezdomniye i alcohol - dilemmi marginalizatsii [The Homeless and Alcohol - Dilemmas of Marginalisation], Sociologicheskiye issledovaniya v Rossii, No. 2 , pp. 34-43
  • Khakhulina, L., Saar A. and  and Stephenson,S. (1997) Neravenstvo i spravedlivost’ [Inequality and Justice], Economicheskiye i socialnyje peremeny: Monitoring obschestvennogo mneniya, No.2,  pp.40-44
  • Khakhulina, L., Saar, S. and Stephenson,S. (1996) Predstavlenija o socialnoi spravedlivosti v Rossii i v Estonii: sravnitelnyi analiz” [Perceptions of Social Justice in Russia and Estonia: Comparative Analysis], Economicheskiye i socialnyje peremeny: Monitoring obschestvennogo mneniya, No6, pp. 19-26.
  • Stephenson, S. (1996) O phenomene bezdomnosti [On the Phenomenon of Homelessness], SOCIS, No. 8, pp., 26-34.
  • Sidorenko, S. (1996) Formirovaniye grazhdanskogo obschestva i izmeneniye obraza zhisni gorozhan [Creation of a Civil Society and Changes in the Urban Way of Life]. In Formirovaniye grazhdanskogo obschestva v Rossii. INION RAN, Moscow.
  • Sidorenko-Stephenson, S. (1996) Moskovskiye bezdomnye” [The Moscow Homeless], Chelovek, No. 2, pp. 116-125.
  • Khakhulina, L. and Sidorenko S. (1996) Predprinimatelskaya aktivnost naseleniya: usloviya i perspectivy” [Entrepreneurial Activities of the Population: Conditions and Prospects], Economicheskiye i socialnyje peremeny: Monitoring obschestvennogo mneniya, No. 5, pp. 34-40
  • Sidorenko, S. (1995) Ob otnoshenii obschestva k besdomnym. [On the Public Attitudes to the Homeless]. In Trudnosti sotsialnogo obnovlenija Rossii (1993-1994). INION RAN, Moscow,  pp.160-170.
  • Sidorenko, S. (1995) Besdomnost: sozdaniye socialnogo dna [Homelessness as Social Exclusion] ,Sociologiya: socialnyye i  gumanitarnyie nauki. Otechestvennaya i  zarubezhnaya literatura,  No. 3,  pp. 140-149.
  • Sidorenko, S.(1995) “Underclass”, ili sotsialnoye dno Rossii [Underclass, or Social Exclusion in Russia]. In Zaslavskaya , T. (ed.) Kuda idyot Rossiya. Alternativy obschestvennogo razvitiya. Aspect PressMoscow,  pp.179-183.        
  • Sidorenko, S. (1995) Moskovskiye bezdomnyje - pervyje shagi v izuchenii problemy [The Moscow Homeless- the First Steps in Studying the Problem], Economicheskiye i socialnyje peremeny: Monitoring obschestvennogo mneniya, No. 4, pp. 46-49.
  • 2020–2022 Rescaling Fund, London Metropolitan University: £5,000 to collate interview data on public shaming and to conduct a workshop with scholars from HSE (Russia) and UK universities
  • 2019-2024 Member of the project team, “Gangs, Gangsters and Ganglands” ERC advanced grant (PI – Dennis Rodgers, University of Geneva, €2.5 million) April 2022 Short-Term Research Fellowship, the Jordan Centre for Advanced Study of Russia, New York University
  • May-July 2021 International Visiting Fellowship, Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki
  • 2019-2024 Member of the project team, “Gangs, Gangsters and Ganglands” ERC advanced grant (PI – Dennis Rodgers, University of Geneva, €2.5 million) May-July 2021 International Visiting Fellowship, Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki
  • Jan 2019 REF internal funding, School of Social Sciences, London Metropolitan University (£1,520): Preparation of an impact case, and research in Russia on project on “Rituals of social shaming: understanding the intersection of formal and informal social control”.
  • Aug-Sep. 2018 Visiting Research Fellowship at the Russian and East European Institute, University of Indiana, Bloomington
  • Jan 2018 Selected as the “Sociologist of the month” by Current Sociology for the article “It takes two to tango: the state and organized crime in Russia”.
  • 2017 Winner of the Alexander Nove Prize, awarded by the British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies (BASEES) for scholarly work of high quality in Russian, Soviet and post-Soviet studies, for “Gangs of Russia: from the streets to the corridors of power”, Cornell University Press.
  • 2017 Honorary mention of “Gangs of Russia” by the BASEES Women’s Forum.
  • 2016 - 2017 Grant from the Russian Khamovniki Foundation to translate and publish a Russian edition of “Gangs of Russia: from the streets to the corridors of power”, Cornell University Press, £24,000 (award holder).
  • Aug-Sep. 2012 International Visiting Fellowship, Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki
  • 2010 Grant from C-SAP: Subject Network for Sociology, Anthropology and Politics to conduct a project of “5P Feedback: principles, problems, perceptions, practices, prescriptions”, £19,000 (CoI).
  • 2008 - 2009 Responding to systematic human rights violations: an analysis of ‘Pilot Judgements’ of the European Court of Human Rights and their impact within national systems, The Leverhulme Trust, £65,000 (CoI)
  • 2005 - 2007 Violent street groups and organized crime in Russia. The Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, $57,000 (PI) 1999 - 2000 Neglected and abandoned children in Russia: causes and consequences. The MacArthur Foundation, £15,000 (PI)
  • 1996 - 1999 Changing perceptions of poverty in Russia, World Bank, £30,000 (CoI)
  • 1996 - 1997 Moscow street children. The Ford Foundation, Social Policy at the End of the 20th Century programme, £30,000 (PI) 1996 - 1997 Leverhulme Trust Visiting Research Fellow, University of Essex
  • 1995 - 1996 Perceptions of social justice in Russia and Estonia. Open Society Institute, Research Support Scheme, $60,000 (CoI)
  • 1994 British Council Visiting Fellow, University of Bath & Nuffield College, Oxford
  • From 2018 Member of the Advisory Board, ERC GULAGECHO project (PI - Prof.Judith Pallot, University of Helsinki)
  • From 2018 - Member of the National Committee, the British Association of Slavonic and East European Studies
  • Nov 2019 – Invited to participate in a workshop on “The Political Economy of Law Enforcement”, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, Cologne.
  • Oct 2019 – Invited talk: Living by the Code. Street Gangs in Russia, The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva.
  • Sep 2018 – Invited talk: Gangs of Russia, Russian and East European Institute, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA.
  • Aug 2018 – Invited workshop presentation: Conducting Interviews on Sensitive Issues, Russian Studies Research Network, Indiana University, Bloomington IN.
  • Feb 2018 – Invited presentation: Gangs and Governance in Russia, at conference on Criminal Governance in Comparative Perspective at Barnard College, Columbia University, New York.
  • Aug 2017 – Criminal Entrepreneurs and the Development of Capitalism in Russia. Semi-plenary speech at the 13th Conference of the European Sociological Association, Athens.
  • July 2017 – Invited presentation: Organised crime and the development of capitalism in Russia at ECPR Standing Group on Organised Crime 2nd General Conference: “Organised Crime Today: Networks, Routes and Criminal Partnerships”, University of Bath.
  • May 2017 – Street and Criminal Culture, and its Social Influence in Russian Society. Keynote speech at XI Yuri Levada Memorial Conference, Higher School of Economics, Moscow.
  • Mar 2017 – Invited talk on Russian gangs at Department of Criminology and Sociology, Kingston University May 2016 interviewed by Prof Laurie Taylor on the Thinking Allowed programme, BBC4.
  • 23 May 2016. BBC programme.
  • May 2016 – Joining the Old Guard: Patrimonial Networks and Young People in Russia. Keynote speech at the 16th Aleksanteri Conference: “Life and Death in Russia: Perspectives on Russian Social Policy”, University of Helsinki.

Svetlana Stephenson
Senior Professor in Sociology for the School of Social Sciences