UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)


Dr Richard Mole

Senior Lecturer in Political Sociology

Politics and Sociology Programmes Coordinator

Dr Richard Mole teaches and contributes towards a range of courses relating to identity, politics and society. His research focuses the relationship between identity and power, with particular reference to nationalism, sexualities, migration, diasporas and asylum. He has a strong theoretical interest in discourse - particularly, the post-structuralist discourse theories of Laclau and Mouffe - and a regional interest in Russia, Poland, Germany and the Baltic States and increasingly on Brazil and other Latin American societies. 

His research on the relationship between identity and power is explicitly interdisciplinary, crossing the boundaries of Sociology, International Relations, Social Psychology and Socio-Linguistics, and has found expression is his monograph The Baltic States from the Soviet Union to the European Union: Identity, Discourse and Power in the Post-Communist Transition of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, his edited volume on Discursive Constructions of Identity in European Politics and in articles, special issues and reviews published in Ethnicity and Health, Nations and Nationalism, European Journal of Social Psychology, Slavonic and East European Review, Sexualities, Journal of Baltic Studies and Sexually Transmitted Infections. 

His current research examines the intersections between migration and sexuality. He first explored this relationship as part of a large-scale collaborative project on the Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles of London’s East Europeans between SSEES and the UCL Centre for Sexual Health and HIV Research. The project, which received funding of £400,000 from the UK Medical Research Council, comprised a survey of over 3,500 East European migrants and 50 in-depth interviews and provided invaluable insights into the sexual behaviours and attitudes of these new communities. 

Building on the insights into the experiences of LGBTQ migrants gained from the above project, he is currently completing a project on Polish, Russian and Brazilian LGBTQ migrants in London and Berlin, which seeks to explore the extent to which LGBT migrants engage with their ethno-national diasporas in a bid to gain social, economic and psychological support and, if this is lacking, whether LGBTQ migrants develop diasporic networks of their own. He completed the fieldwork for the project as a Visiting Fellow at Humboldt University (2011-12) and subsequently at the Free University in Berlin (2016), funded by an Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship for Experienced Researchers. 

He is External Examiner for the undergraduate programme in Central and East European Studies at the University of Glasgow and for the postgraduate programmes in Russian and East European Studies at the University of Oxford. Together with his colleague, Christopher Gerry, he set up the International MA in Economy, State and Society (IMESS), which was recognised by the EU Erasmus Mundus Programme in 2006, making UCL the first Russell Group university to have received such recognition. Students spend the first year at UCL SSEES and the second at one of our partners in Central and Eastern Europe: Belgrade University; Charles University in Prague; Corvinus University of Budapest; Helsinki University; Higher School of Economics, Moscow/St Petersburg; Jagiellonian University in Krakow, or Tartu University. He was IMESS Programme Director from 2009-11 and is currently IMESS Director.

In 2007 he was made a Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy and in 2009 he was awarded a Provost's Teaching Award for excellence in teaching.

He is currently supervising/co-supervising MPhil/PhD students working on the following research projects:

  • Piotr Godzisz: ‘Response of governments to hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity in Poland’ (Bonnart-Braunthal Scholarship)
  • Ina Goel: 'Spaces of Exclusion or Sites of Resistance? Hijra communities in Delhi' (INLAKS Scholarship)
  • Rasa Kamarauskaite: ‘Body and space among Lithuanian sexual minorities’
  • Nikolay Nikolov: ‘A concrete life: a history of the panel housing complex in the former Soviet bloc’ (ESRC Scholarship)
  • Andrea Peinhopf: ‘States of uncertainty: Soviet identity and statehood in the secessions of Abkhazia and Transnistria’ (ESRC Scholarship)
  • Dzmitry Suslau: ‘Constructing urban narratives: public art and the gendering of urban space in Vilnius, Minsk and Kaliningrad’ (SSEES Foundation Scholarship)

He supervised/co-supervised the following PhDs to completion:

  • Dr Oliwia Berdak: ‘I exist, I belong, I contribute: the self and the collective in Croatian national discourse’ (Bonnart-Braunthal Scholarship and SSEES Foundation Scholarship. Now: Senior Analyst, Forrester)
  • Dr Valentina Burrai: ‘Towards a symmetrical minority citizenship: group equality in Croatia, 1990-2007’ (Now: Senior Research Manager, Wood Mackenzie)
  • Dr Olga Cara: ‘Acculturation strategies and ethno-national identification: a study of adolescents in Russian- language schools in Riga’ (ESRC Scholarship. Now: Senior Research Officer, UCL Institute of Education)
  • Dr Julia Halej: ‘Other whites, white others: East European migrants and the boundaries of whiteness’ (Now: Research Officer, Equality Challenge Unit)
  • Dr Thomas Hoctor: ‘Making a model: UK policy networks and the Nordic model’ (AHRC scholarship. Now: Lecturer at the University of Bedfordshire)


PhD, London School of Economics and Political Science, 2003
M.Phil, University of Cambridge, 1992
BA (Hons), Heriot-Watt University, 1991

Courses Taught

SESS1203 Understanding Society: Introduction to Political Sociology (BA)
SESS1204 Communism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe (BA)
SEESGS34 Nations, Identity and Power in Central and Eastern Europe (MA)
SEESGS76 Sexuality and Society in Russian and Eastern Europe (MA)
SEESGS83 Political Sociology (MA)
EUROGG01 Gender, Society and Representation (MA)
GEOGG202 Issues in Global Migration (MA)

Researcher Profile

Dr Richard Mole