Adam Burgess


Education and Teaching

Adam Burgess completed his BA at the University of London, principally at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, but taking sociology at the London School of Economics. During this time he founded and co-ordinated a research group, Bez Hranic, to develop critical perspectives on the emerging Western discussion of developments within the former communist bloc, and the consequences of the ‘Westernisation’ of ‘the East’. Some of these perspectives are elaborated in his book, Divided Europe.

His doctoral studies were undertaken in the Department of Sociology at the University of Kent at Canterbury. The thesis

locates and contrasts the contemporary practice of ‘promoting democracy’ to the concerns and assumptions of developmental sociology, examining in particular the principal British and American institutions promoting democracy in the non Western world.

He has taught at numerous institutions including the University of Kent, and Kazan State University in the Russian Federation. His past teaching interests are wide ranging: the sociology of European societies, social developments in Eastern Europe and the FSU, the internationalising of Western concerns and institutions, demography, cultural determinism, ethnicity and minority rights, the family, and health. More recent interests include socio-legal studies, ‘risk’, and consumption.


Research and Research Papers

Specific research projects include a survey of European attitudes towards abortion in September 1996, and research into intergenerational contact comparing the UK and Russia during 1998. He also had extensive involvement in TEMPUS (TACIS) JEP - 10026-95 (1mECU). Coordinated by Prof. Howard Davis between 1995-1998, the project successfully established a functioning Centre for the Sociology of Culture in Russia.

Current research is concerned with Europe and the Consumer, looking at how the European Union is promoting consumer rights as a means of establishing points of contact with a largely disengaged European public.

He has presented research papers at conferences in the UK and abroad, including at the Fondation des Sciences Politiques in Paris, the University of Leuven in Belgium, the Institute on Western Europe at Columbia University, Ulyanovsk State University in Russia, as well as in Belgrade and numerous institutions in the UK.


Divided Europe (Pluto Press, 1997) (ISBN 0-7453-1257-8)

(Favourably reviewed in a number of places, for example by Tom Nairn; International Affairs described it as ‘a most valuable contribution’; Michael Hindley MEP reviewed it as: ‘an excellent historical survey of Western attitudes to the East which gives a sound background for analysing what is going on there now.’)

‘Critical Historical Reflections on the International Enforcement of Minority Rights in Europe,’ in Karl Cordell (ed.), Ethnicity and Democracy in the New Europe (Routledge, 1999)

‘National Minority Rights and the "Civilizing" of Eastern Europe,’ Contention (ISSN 1056-1072) Vol.5 No.2, 1996 (Winter)

‘Writing Them off to the East? Bias in British Press Reporting of Slovakia?’ Nationalities Papers (ISSN 0090-5992) Vol. 25 No.4, 1997 (December)

‘European Identity and the Challenge from South and East,’ in Ulf Hedetoft (ed.) Political Symbols, Symbolic Politics: Between European Unity and Fragmentation (Avebury, 1998)

‘Excluding the East Through Civil Society?’ in Zeljko Sevic and Glendal Wright (eds), Transition in Central and Eastern Europe Vol.2 (Sasakawa Foundation, 1997) (ISBN 86-403-0204-9)

‘Who Needs Minority Rights?’ Socioloski Pregled (Sociological Review - Yugoslavia - ISSN 0081-6320) Vol.31 No.3, 1997]

Forthcoming publications include: ‘Universalising Democracy and the Process of Modernisation’, and ‘Towards a Sociology of Litigation: Understanding Litigious Britain’. His next book project is provisionally entitled, Creating the Consumer: Establishing Authority.