I am currently working on two research projects. The first, which began with my dissertation research, focuses on the political economy of oil. The second, which began as a collaboration with my fellow post-docs at the Higher School of Economics (HSE) in Moscow, studies the contemporary rise of authoritarian urbanism in Eastern Europe and beyond. Both projects employ transregional comparison to understand how the authority of professional experts supports the political legitimacy of national governments.

Political economy of oil. My book manuscript, preliminarily titled Competing for Legitimacy: Oil, Business, and the State in Russia and Brazil, explains how ideas developed in the transnational oil industry influenced the reform of oil industry governance institutions – specifically, the introduction of “shareholder value maximization” as a norm at national oil companies. The book argues against the cherished notion that oil states are exceptions to modern capitalism. Instead, it develops the concept of a financial-rentier state to describe how today’s resource-dependent emerging markets pursue a social contract similar to that found in advanced capitalist countries in the Global North/West. I collaborated with colleagues at HSE to collect original survey data testing this notion in the Russian context in Spring/Summer 2021. One article from this line of research appears in a special issue of the International Journal of Public Administration about The Rise of State Capitalism, which I co-edited.

Authoritarian urbanism. The first article from this line of research, which theorizes from the case of the new Russian national housing renovation program, appears in the March 2021 issue of Geoforum. The research team led by Daniela Zupan at Bauhaus Universität in Weimar, Germany conducted a global survey of urbanism practices in authoritarian and autocratizing regimes, choosing the Russian cities of Ekaterinburg and Perm, and the Serbian cities of Novy Sad and Niš, as cases to study in depth. In June 2021, I visited Russia’s regional capital Ekaterinburg to observe two controversial urban renovation projects there. I presented results of this preliminary fieldwork at the American Political Science Association Annual Meeting in Seattle in September 2021.

I am also a member of the Decolonizing Eastern European Studies project.


Zadorian, Amanda. (2021). “Practicing (State) Capitalism at Petrobras and Rosneft.” Special Issue on The Rise of State Capitalism. International Journal of Public Administration 44, no. 14 (October): 1241-1252. DOI: 10.1080/01900692.2021.1964082. Free download link.

Zadorian, Amanda, Miklós Szanyi, and Ali Farazmand. (2021.) Introduction to the Special Issue: The Rise of State Capitalism. International Journal of Public Administration 44, no. 14 (October): 1195-1200. Free download link.

Zupan, Daniela, Vera Smirnova, and Amanda Zadorian. 2021. “Governing through stolichnaya praktika: Housing renovation from Moscow to the regions.” Geoforum 120 (March): 155-164. DOI: 10.1016/j.geoforum.2021.01.008.

Competing for Legitimacy: Oil Industry Governance in Russia and Brazil. (2018.) Ph.D. Dissertation, The New School for Social Research. Read the abstract of my dissertation (.pdf)

Presenting at the University of Bremen, Germany, for the ICSID workshop “Quality of Governance and the Legacies of Socialism,” October 2019. Photo credit: M. Rochlitz.