The Russian Sociological Review, 2017 (4) en-us Copyright 2017 Sat, 30 Dec 2017 02:29:04 +0300 Sociology and the Problem of Order Spontaneous Order and Relational Sociology: From the Scottish Enlightenment to Human Figurations If viewed from a long-term and large-scale perspective, human interdependencies today can be seen as approaching species integration on a worldwide level. However, emergent worldwide processes of integration and differentiation tend to be reduced to static concept-things such as “governmentality”, “globalization”, “cosmopolitanization”, “mobilities”, and “networks”, helping to obscure the mundane processes of institution formation, in particular the tenacious endurance of the nation-state. This paper argues that the pathological realism of neoliberal globalization today can be more adequately approached by engaging with the historical precursors of the so-called “relational turn” in contemporary sociology. The earlier relational sociology of the Scottish enlightenment, particularly Adam Ferguson (1767), Adam Smith (1776) and David Hume (1739) developed ideas of spontaneous order and such related concepts as “the invisible hand” and “unintended consequences” in an attempt to understand and control the rapid transformation of Scotland, a relatively under-developed economy on the edge of Europe. The Scottish spontaneous order tradition is compared to Elias’s idea of “figuration” as an unplanned but patterned process of increasingly complex and opaque social interdependencies and functional democratization. This process appears to have reached definite limits. Humanity is ensnared in a compelling global double-bind process of armed states that continue to threaten, endanger and fear each other, and a pervasive elite belief in the spontaneous efficiency and self-correcting mechanisms of the global “magic market”. Getting Order Out of Chaos: A Mathematical Model of Political Conflict Time series data about violent internal conflicts such as protests or riots often display irregular fluctuations. This article argues that these fluctuations are manifestations of a deterministic chaos that can be described by a relatively simple difference equation. It presents a mathematical contagion model of the interaction between three groups: (a) already mobilized rebellious citizens, who are protesting against the government and its policies, (b) initially non-rebellious but frustrated groups, which become mobilized by imitating the rebels, and (c) repressive governmental forces, which attempt to curb the rebellion and reduce the number of mobilized persons. The integration of these three processes results in a logistic growth model, which converges for many parameter configurations to stable shares of mobilized protesters, including in certain situations also zero-protest. However, for other specific parameters this logistic process may result in chaotic fluctuations in protest actions, which are dangerous to the regime as they are unpredictable and often very massive. By computer-simulations, the article explores the consequences of the different parameter configurations for protest dynamics.In order to ensure their political survival, most governments have a vital interest in getting from chaotic conflict dynamics to a stable equilibrium of protest, preferably at the level of zero. They may actively do so (i) by reforms which reduce the share of frustrated citizens who can be mobilized for protest (ii) by the intimidation and/or repression of protesters, (iii) by censoring media reports about protests such that the conflicts become less contagious. A formal analysis of the model shows that the most successful of the three strategies are reforms, which reduce the share of frustrated citizens and thus lead to a new political order. Social Imagination and Solidarity in Precarious Times: The Case of Lower Class People in Post-Soviet Russia The paper seeks to enrich existing literature on group making by studying the process of group formation among lower class people in post-soviet Russia, which provides important findings on the way precarization and atomization in global neoliberal capitalism can be overcome. Drawing on a large database consisting of in-depth interviews in different regions and a few observations, the study sheds light on the way social ties and social imagination can develop among lower class people, who have been subjected to harsh social and economic destabilization. First, a process of inhabiting one’s social and material environment has to enfold, along with the recovering of habitus or a sense of occupying a “normal” place in society, and regular interactions with people recognized as occupying a similar place. Second, rootedness in one’s everyday experience gives lower class people the capacity to grasp the broader social space and to draw some lines of differentiation and division, while populist and anti-populist discourses can provide the background for acknowledging and naming new social divisions. To grasp these processes, the author argues, a comeback to such classics of critical (or structural-constructivist) sociology, as Marx and Bourdieu, would be useful. Precarity: Local Disorders or New Global Order? The paper is devoted to the research of the nature of precarity. The authors explore the dual substance of precarity as both global and local phenomena. There are four major premises in the formation of precarity at the global and local levels: the divisions of labor markets deepening inequalities and asymmetries; the Fourth Industrial Revolution providing a demand for labor with machines replacing the living workforce; the сhanging nature of labor which dissolves the boundaries between alienated labor and independent private life; and the intervention of neoliberal ideology in practice, manifesting itself as invasion of the state and capital into the social production of individuals. The sum of these premises lead to the expansion of precarity in different forms, although mainly in the form of precarious employment. As a result, precarity is considered in the paper as a form of a new global order produced by the multitude of local disorders. Interactional Lenses for Contemporary Migration Studies: The Case of the “Cosmopolitan Sociability” Concept The article attempts to revise the concept of ‘cosmopolitan sociability’, proposed by Nina Glick-Schiller for the field of migration research, from the interactional perspective. Cosmopolitan sociability characterizes such forms of integration of mobile people that do not refer to ethnicity or the country of origin; instead they are based on openness, free emotional sharing, and general human competencies available to everyone. However, the use of the concept by anthropologists and sociologists seems to neglect specific situational mechanisms of how cosmopolitan sociability is produced and reproduced in everyday interactions. We seek to fill this gap addressing theoretical resources of ethnomethodological membership categorization analysis, as well as interaction ritual theory. We propose to combine these approaches as complementary conceptual frameworks to analyze cosmopolitan sociability practices at the situational level. Ethnomethodological tradition helps to identify mutual definition and accounting of what is happening in specific here-and-now situations. This allows analyzing the stability created within the framework of cosmopolitan interactions, as well as the specific moral order that is reproduced within them. Moreover, ethnomethodological analysis helps to identify contexts where cosmopolitan sociability can or cannot arise. Interaction ritual theory, as developed by Randall Collins, characterizes situational solidarities and group symbols emerging and sustaining in everyday interactions. It is also able to trace the influence of the individuals’ past experiences (previous chains of interactions) on their participation in situations of cosmopolitan sociability. The proposed approach is illustrated by the analysis of several examples of labor migrants’ interactions in the Federal Migration Service. Some Features of an Inspiring Book; or: Why Sociologists Should Study Love Despite Its Intangibility Book Review: Eva Illouz. Why Love Hurts: A Sociological Explanation (Cambridge: Polity, 2016). Book Review: Matthew Ratcliffe, Experiences of Depression: A Study in Phenomenology (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015) Book Review: Matthew Ratcliffe, Experiences of Depression: A Study in Phenomenology (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015) Political Augustinism Revival Book Review: Villacañas Berlanga J. L. (2016). Teología Política Imperial y Comunidad de Salvación Cristiana: una Genealogía de la División de Poderes. Madrid: Trotta. 717 P. ISBN 978-84-9879-627-8