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Department of Social Anthropology



Taras Fedirko is a Research Associate on the ERC-funded project 'Situating Free Speech: European Parrhesia in Comparative Perspective'.

Taras has completed his PhD in Socio-cultural Anthropology at Durham University in 2017. Building on extensive ethnographic fieldwork within the British central government, and with anti-corruption campaigners in London, his doctoral research explored how participation of transnational corporations and NGOs in the making of state policy reshapes the authority of civil servants.

Taras’ research demonstrates that the powerful, yet ambivalent norms of transparency, accountability, and public participation enable actors, such as corporate lobbyists and NGO campaigners, to pursue political and moral agendas that sit uneasily with civil servants’ ideas of expertise, responsibility and the public good. If public sector cuts and outsourcing have changed the government by redistributing its functions to markets and the civil society, Taras’ research points to another frontier of change: namely, the manner in which participatory governance transforms government institutions and practices from within in the name of greater transparency.

His current project focuses on free speech and its various others – controlled, compelled, and manipulated speech – in the context of the so-called ‘information war’ in Ukraine. In 2017-18 he will be conducting fieldwork in Kyiv, Ukraine.



Anthropology of the state, bureaucracy, expert knowledge, communication and mediation, cybernetics, ethics, responsibility.

Research Associate on the ERC-funded project
'Situating Free Speech: European Parrhesia in Comparative Perspective'.
Dr Taras  Fedirko