Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies


Dr Alena Pfoser MA University of Vienna, MA European University at St Petersburg, PhD Loughborough University

Photo of Dr Alena Pfoser

Lecturer in Communication and Media Studies

Alena joined the department in 2015 as a Lecturer in Communication and Media Studies. She studied sociology and Russian Studies in Vienna, Krasnodar and Saint Petersburg, before coming to Loughborough to conduct a PhD in Social Sciences (2010-2014). Alena worked in several national and international research projects in Austria and Germany, most recently as a Marie Curie Fellow at the Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography in Leipzig, Germany (2014-15).

Alena’s research focuses on territorial borders, nationalism and memory. She has particular interests in how large-scale socio-political transformations like nation- and state-building processes are experienced, interpreted and enacted in everyday life. Her doctoral research examined the transformation of the Russian-Estonian border from an integrated borderland to an EU external border from a bottom-up perspective. Using ethnographic and narrative methods, it looked at how ‘ordinary’ people belonging to different ethnic groups and generations negotiate identity and place in relation to polarised official discourses. The research drew attention to the ‘messy’ realities of border change on the ground and argued for paying more attention to the role of memory in the study of borders and socio-political change. Key results have been published in the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, East European Politics & Societies and Nationalities Papers; further articles and a book publication are in preparation.

Alena has a strong interest in engaging with external audiences through art collaborations. Together with the visual artist Eva Engelbert Alena also curated a multimedia exhibition (‘Welcome to European Union’) drawing on her research, which was exhibited in art galleries in Vienna, Salzburg and Loughborough and was awarded a price for interdisciplinarity by the Austrian Federal Chancellery. Together with Ele Belfiore, Alena currently represents Loughborough University as a Tate Exchange associate and is involved in “Who are we?”, a six-day cross platform event at the Tate in March 2017.

Alena teaches on communication and cultural theory, creative industries and research methods (SSB301 Media, Identity and Inequality, SSB302 Researching Communications, SSA306 Media Landscapes, LLP405 Tourism and Heritage Industries).

Alena is happy to supervise research students in the fields of memory and heritage; nationalism, national identities and ethnic relations; border studies; and post-socialism.

Current postgraduate research students

  • Cuomo Zhaxi (2016-present): Tibetan Identity, Chinese Nationalism and Chinese State Media (with Thoralf Klein)
  • Gennaro Errichiello (2016-present): Dubai as a ‘transit lounge’. Migration, temporariness and ‘flexible belonging’ within the Pakistani community (with Line Nyhagen)