UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)


Lake Bled, Slovenia

Dr Richard Mole

Dr Richard Mole

Senior Lecturer



Joined UCL
1st Oct 2003

Research summary

Richard Mole's research focuses the relationship between identity and power, with particular reference to nationalism, sexualities, migration and diaspora. 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 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 and reviews published in Slavic ReviewEast European Politics and SocietiesEthnicity 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 2,500 East European migrants and 50 in-depth interviews and provided invaluable insights into the sexual behaviour and attitudes of these new communities. 

Building on the insights into the experiences of LGBT migrants gained from the above project, he is currently completing a project on Polish, Russian and Brazilian LGBT 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 LGBT migrants develop quasi-diasporic networks of their own. He completed the first year of the project as a Visiting Fellow at Humboldt University in Berlin, followed by three months at the Free University of Berlin, both funded by an Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship for Experienced Researchers.

Teaching summary

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)

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’ (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’ (Now: Senior Research Officer, UCL Institute of Education)

•    Dr Kinga Goodwin: ‘'Class, gender and ethnicity performance amongst Polish women in the UK and New Zealand/Aotearoa: an intersectional perspective'

•    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)

•    Dr Barbara Madaj: ‘The migration of medical doctors from Poland to the United Kingdom following the expansion of the European Union in May 2004’ (Now: Head of Monitoring and Evaluation, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine)

•    Dr Dorota Osipovic: ‘Social citizenship of Polish migrants in London: engagement and non-engagement with the British welfare state’ (Now: Research Fellow, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine)


London School of Economics and Political Science
PhD, International Relations | 2003
University of Cambridge
M.Phil, International Relations | 1992
Heriot-Watt University
BA Hons, German and Russian | 1991
University College London
CLTHE_1, Academic studies in Higher Education | 03-05
University College London
CLTHE_2, Academic studies in Higher Education | 03-05


Richard studied German and Russian at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, and International Relations at the University of Cambridge, where he also worked at the University's Baltic States Research Unit. After four years working for Credit Suisse in London and Zurich, he began his doctoral studies in 1997 at the London School of Economics and Political Science. His PhD thesis examined the relationship between identity and foreign policy in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. After completing his PhD, he was a Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania's Solomon Asch Center for the Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict, before taking up a two-year Andrew W. Mellon Research Fellowship at UCL. He joined SSEES in 2004 as Lecturer in the Politics of Central Europe and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in Political Sociology in 2010. From 2011-16 he was the Societies' Pathway Representative for the BASc Arts and Sciences.

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.