Dr Liene Ozoliņa

Dr Liene Ozoliņa

Course Tutor

Department of Sociology

020 7107 5007
Room No
STC S104
English, Latvian
Key Expertise
Post-socialist Neoliberalism, Political Ethnography, Social Theory

About me

Research interests

I hold a PhD in political sociology from the Department of Sociology at LSE. Before coming to LSE, I studied social theory in Amsterdam and sociology and humanities in Riga. As a political sociologist I am interested in the interconnections between the political structures we inhabit and the ways in which we imagine ourselves as particular kinds of political subjects. I have studied reconfigurations of political subjectivity in post-Soviet Latvia via ethnographic case studies of the welfare system reform, civic education, and democratic accountability initiatives. My writing intersects social theory, political sociology, and anthropology of the state.

My first book has recently been published by Manchester University Press as part of their new Political Ethnography series: Politics of Waiting: Workfare, post-Soviet austerity, and the ethics of freedom.
While the global political economy is usually imagined through metaphors of acceleration and speed, the book reveals waiting as the shadow temporality of neoliberalism. The ethnographic site for this analysis is a state-run unemployment office in Latvia. This site not only grants access to observing everyday implementation of social assistance programmes that use acceleration and waiting as forms of control but also serves as a vantage point from which to compare Western and post-Soviet workfare policy designs. The book thus contributes to current debates across sociology and anthropology on the increasingly coercive forms of social control by examining ethnographically forms of statecraft that have emerged in the aftermath of several decades of neoliberalism.



Ozoliņa, L. (2019) Politics of Waiting: Workfare, post-Soviet austerity, and the ethics of freedom. Manchester: Manchester University Press.


Ozoliņa, L. (forthcoming) Embracing Austerity? An ethnographic perspective on the Latvian public’s acceptance of austerity politics. In: Journal of Baltic Studies.

Ozoliņa-Fitzgerald, L. (2016) A State of Limbo: The politics of waiting in neoliberal Latvia. In: British Journal of Sociology 67(3).

Ozoliņa, L. (2010) Raspberries, Tablecloths, and Critical Thinking: Accountability Reforms in Post-Socialist Latvia. In: East European Politics and Societies 24(4): 572-594.

Ozoliņa, L. (2009) The Difficult Priority: Building the Latvian Innovation System. Researching Inequality through Science and Technology (RESIST) Working Paper 36.

Recent conference presentations

Geographic and Analytical Borderlands: Tracing the tensions by the Baltic-Russian border”, American Anthropological Association annual meeting. Washington DC, USA (December 2017).  

“On Sociology as a Listener’s Art”, conference “The Art of Knowing”, Latvian Academy of Culture. Riga, Latvia (May 2016).

“A State of Limbo: The Politics of Waiting in Neo-Liberal Latvia”, the 13th Annual NYLON Graduate Student Conference, Max Planck Institute for Human Development. Berlin, Germany (March 2015).

“The Tyrannies of Intimacy: Notes on Neo-Liberal Political Subjectivity Formation in Latvia”, international research workshop “Popular Geopolitics in Russia and Post-Soviet Eastern Europe”, UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies. London, UK (February 2015).

“The Moral Economy of the Latvian Post-Socialist Welfare State: Ethnography of an Unemployment Office”, international workshop “Central and East European Employment Relations”, University of Greenwich. London, UK (January 2015).

Expertise Details

Social Theory; Political Sociology; Sociology and Anthropology of the State; Political Ethnography; Post-socialism.