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 am a political ethnographer with a strong interest in social theory and my research interests span political sociology, theories of the state, political subjectivities, and ethics, and post-Soviet neoliberalism. 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.

My first book, Politics of Waiting: Workfare, post-Soviet austerity, and the ethics of freedom, has recently been published by Manchester University Press as part of their new Political Ethnography series. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork that I conducted at an unemployment office in Latvia following the 2009 global economic crisis, it examines post-Soviet neoliberalism as both a form of statecraft and an ethical regime. The book makes several contributions to political sociology and social theory. Firstly, it examines political rationality and everyday implementation of workfare programmes in post-socialist context and contributes to sociological study of neoliberal social policy designs. Secondly, it develops a theorization of time as a form of social control and reveals how waiting works as a shadow temporality in the contemporary political economy, usually imagined in metaphors of acceleration and speed. Thirdly, it advances the study of interlinking between politics and ethics by examining how historically shaped conceptions of freedom have enabled the development and implementation of neoliberal social policy designs.

I am working on two new projects at the moment. The first one is a political ethnography of the recent militarisation in the Baltic region, focusing on both public policies (e.g. introduction of security studies at schools) as well as proliferating imaginaries of war in the public sphere. The second project concerns a sociological theorisation of freedom.



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


Ozoliņa, L. (2019) Would You Flee, or Would You Fight? Tracing the Tensions at the Latvian-Russian Border. In: Slavic Review, 78(2): 348-356.

Ozoliņa, L. (2019) Embracing Austerity? An ethnographic perspective on the Latvian public’s acceptance of austerity politics. In: Journal of Baltic Studies. DOI: 10.1080/01629778.2019.1635174

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.

Conference presentations

“Would You Flee, or Would You Fight? Tracing the Tensions at the Latvian-Russian Border”, at the British Association of Slavic and East European Studies conference, Cambridge, UK (April 2018).

“Geographic and Analytical Borderlands”, 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

Political Ethnography; Social Theory; Political Sociology; Post-Soviet neoliberalism; Theories of Political Subjectivities and Ethics.