The Russian Sociological Review, 2018 (2) en-us Copyright 2018 Sat, 30 Jun 2018 15:43:04 +0300 A Conspiracy of Silence: Interfaces of the Sacred and the Political in the Discursive Practices of Modern Russia Who in modern Russia speaks about the what, when, and how of the mutual implications of the sacred and the political? As the article’s primary focus, it is shown that almost no-one produces coherent, well-articulated narratives, with the exception of some representatives of higher state authorities (however, not the state as such), the anti-clerical intelligentsia (who have neither political representation nor political influence), and the Islamic community (which concentrates predominantly on their own internal disagreements). The nature of a “powerful” narrative is thoroughly investigated. It is shown that its nature is rather close (although with some reservations) to the phenomenon of “political religion” as in Emilio Gentile’s meaning. In the second focus, the reasons of the avoidance of deliberations on the right and wrong interfaces of the sacred and the political of most officials of the Russian Orthodox Church are presented. It is demonstrated that the most likely reasons for this “silence” consists in the inevitable case of the violations of the questioning of the legitimacy of modern Russian state itself. Finally, some scenarios of disruption of the unstable equilibrium that still exist on the dividing line between the Russian sacred and the Russian political are outlined. The Imitation of Stateness: Predator Instead of Manager This study examines the widespread thesis of recent years of the “strengthening” of the Russian state, perceived as improving its solvency, increasing stability, order, and strength in the period after the year 2000. These views are analyzed on the basis of scientific ideas about the state’s potential, and its order and stability. In considering the domestic case and determining the numerous circumstances preventing a solidarity with political declarations, the author makes a conclusion about the imitative nature of the achieved “political stability” and the “strengthening” allegedly occurring in recent decades. In the author’s opinion, the dynamics of economic development, internal structural contradictions and serious discursive problems determined the expansion, not the strengthening of the state system that hampered the formation of an effective and efficient decision-making system in the political process and of public policy. The author examines various options for the presence of both strengths and weaknesses in the state structure, as well as situations where it is difficult to make an unambiguous conclusion about state consistency and what the state is. The question remains whether the state is a competent management center, a disjointed set of rival institutions, or a predator which monopolizes public resources. Concerning Russian realities and discussing hypotheses about the “predatory” and “fragmented” nature of statehood based on the works of D. North, P. Evans, M. Mann, and E. Jenne, the author remarks on the main problems faced by the continuation of the previous line of political development and the public representation of the state system. These problems include the deterioration of the foreign policy situation, the serious contraction of resources available to the regime, and the divergence within the political elite. The Beginning of Black Notebooks: Martin Heidegger’s Esoteric Initiative The paper presents the hermeneutic interpretation of the first records of Martin Heidegger’s Black Notebooks (“Reflections II–VI”, October 1931). Heidegger’s “esoteric initiative” is reconstructed and compared with Nietzsche’s critique of reading and writing and Plato’s parable of the cave. Other related Heidegger texts such as his Vom Wesen der Wahrheit lecture (1931/32 and 1933/34) and his correspondence with his brother Fritz Heidegger and with E. Blochmann covering Heidegger’s 1930s and 1940s period are also analyzed. Additionally, the denial of the academic and scientific ways of writing in Heidegger’s work is discussed. The methodological problem lies in the fact that there is no mindfulness of the esoteric gesture in Heidegger’s thinking, and, paradoxically, the whole research of Heidegger’s philosophy is separated from the openness of thinking that we can learn from Heidegger himself. Therefore, the critical awareness of Heidegger’s esoteric initiative provides an opportunity to acknowledge the philosophical (rational) dimension of this initiative, a consistent thread running through the majority of Heidegger’s texts. The article also examines the arrangement of Heidegger’s message and focuses on the fundamental constants of the life- and thinking-experience that enable both the knowledge of truth and staying in the truth. These constants include solitude (Einsamkeit), the vivid correspondence between thinking and Being expressed through cordiality (Innigkeit) and continued insistence (Inständigkeit), silence (Schweigen), and concentration (Sammlung). Finally, the article explains Heidegger’s notion of truth in compliance with his esoteric initiative. The Concept of Intention in Anscombe’s Philosophy of Action This article critically examines Elisabeth Anscombe’s philosophy of action. Anscombe’s theory of intentional action was presented in her monograph Intention (1957), which is now an acknowledged classic of analytic philosophy. Intention established the field of analytic philosophy of action, defined the main problems of the field, and largely determined its further development. However, the study of Intention is complicated by the author’s methodology, her writing style, and the lack of any kind of a clear summary of the results of her inquiry. The aim of this paper is to present Anscombe’s theory of intentional action in a comprehensible way without oversimplifying her genuine thought. The first part of the paper contains some brief biographical information about Anscombe’s life and philosophical development, the social and philosophical context of Intention, and its place in Anscombe’s philosophy in general. The second part of the paper explains the basic structure of Intention, states its general task, presents the central line of reasoning and the main arguments, highlights the particular theses and questions that significantly influenced the development of the analytical philosophy of action. The resulting interpretation demonstrates that Anscombe’s theory passes between the extremes of different versions of Cartesian dualism on the one hand, and the complete negation of the significance of the mental in the theory of action, on the other. The Elementary Forms of Religious Life : A Great Book and a Great Mystery The Elementary Forms of Religious Life: A Great Book and a Great Mystery Dmitry KurakinCandidate of Sociology, Leading Research Fellow of the Centre for Fundamental Sociology, Director of the Center for Cultural Sociology and Anthropology of Education, National Research University Higher School of EconomicsAddress: Myasnitskaya Str., 20, Moscow, Russian Federation 101000E-mail: In his preface to the Conclusion of Durkheim’s The Elementary Forms of Religious Life, the editor of the Russian translation discusses a puzzling situation with the translations of Durkheim’s works. For one, at least until now, The Elementary Forms was the only major Durkheim work which had not been translated into Russian. This is especially strange considering the outstanding role this classic work plays in contemporary sociology. However, the author of this article suggests that there is a kind of logic behind this state of affairs. Not only is this book a major resource for sociological theory, but it is also a great mystery. The perception of this book has been substantially changing within the discipline for decades and the way sociologists read The Elementary Forms today is very different from the way they read it half-a-century or even a century ago. In this article, the author discusses the complicated and ever-changing influence this classic work has exerted on sociology. He addresses the complex issue of the perception of The Elementary Forms in sociology, and comments on several types of corresponding translation problems. In particular, he suggests that Durkheim introduced the “piacular rite”, an unorthodox type of ritual, out of the theoretic logic of his argument and in relation to his attempt to explain the feature of the ambiguity of the sacred. This publication also announces the printing of the unabridged Russian translation of the discussed book as scheduled for the autumn of 2018 from the Elementary Forms Press. Elementary Forms of Religious Life: Conclusion In 2018, Elementary Forms Press will be releasing the Russian translation of Emile Durkheim’s seminal oeuvre Elementary Forms of Religious Life (originally published in 1912). In his Conclusion, Durkheim revisits the key epistemological questions raised at the beginning of the book. He summarizes his findings obtained as a result of the analysis of ethnographical descriptions of the religious beliefs of Australian tribes. He proves that his approach to the study of totemism is also relevant for more complex societies. According to his analysis, religious life is the expression of the collective life as such, and is manifested via collective actions. He explains the origins of the individual cult and the universal nature of religion, the two phenomena that at first glance seem to contradict his main argument about the social nature of religion. Durkheim then approaches modern life and demonstrates the historical nature of religious life, i.e., the fact that there will always be a need for a way to express the collective feelings and representations of any society. Finally, Durkheim discusses the relationship between science and religion, and studies the social origins of the categories of thought. In considering these issues, Durkheim goes beyond the framework of sociological theory of religion, and reaffirms the fundamental character of his research once again. The Conclusion is supplemented with introductory remarks by Dmitry Kurakin, who provides the social-theoretical keys for understanding the contemporary relevance of Durkheim’s work, and gives an overview of the main terminological dilemmas during the translation process. Sport and Modernity in 20th-Century Russia The article by a well-known German researcher of Soviet sports is devoted to the problem of the structural interconnection between the corporeal practices of modernity (i. e., sports) with its novel social conditions. First, it considers the theoretical and historical aspects of the creation of a sporting culture process in the everyday life of modernity. It then refers to the normative dimensions of a new sport-oriented body formed within the framework of everyday formal and informal cultural practices. In the third section of the work, the researcher’s attention is focused on the spatial dimension of mass sporting activity in the USSR. The fourth section analyzes the parallel development of Soviet sports and the mass media which provided effective channels for promoting desired corporeal images. A special section of the paper is devoted to a football game. It particularly demonstrates the initially-ambivalent attitude of the Communist authorities towards this most popular of team play, which turned out to be at the center of a bitter political dispute during the early Soviet years. The article highlights the peculiar properties of football which made it the most popular sports activity. The article also discusses the question of the structural interrelation between physical culture and the Soviet system, which is key to understanding the extraordinary international success of socialist sports in the post-Stalinist period. The final part discusses the combination of the innovative and the archaic elements in the Russian version of modernization at the beginning of the 20th century, which limits the semantic applicability of the term “modern” in relation to empirical research. The article concludes with the author’s call to intensify the study of particular disciplines and other forms of organization wherein the phenomenon of global sports finds its historical realization with regard to its peculiar national framework. Soviet Football According to the Documents of the CPSU Central Committee: An Interview with M. Prozumenshchikov Football has become much more than a simple game over the past hundred years. Football has become a factor in global policy, affecting not only the minds and souls of hundreds of millions of fans, but also the political, economic, and social aspects of modern life. This interview with M. Prozumshchikov, the leading researcher of Russian sports and one of the editors of the collection of documents revealed from the Russian State Archive of Recent History, was invited to talk about the creation of the Soviet system of party control over big sport (and, above all, over football), about the views of the leaders of the USSR on the possibility of using football for ideological purposes, and about the role of the Soviet state in the support and development of the mass football movement. The issues of the archival system of documents on sports in the USSR were also touched upon. At the very beginning, the history of the rise of a line of publications dedicated to sport mega-events involving Soviet athletes such as the 1980 Summer Olympics, the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, and big football matches was discussed. Furthermore, the researcher talked about the difficulties associated with finding relevant documents about Soviet sport in the existing archival landscape of modern Russia. The main part of the conversation was devoted to the structural problems of national sport, beginning with the early USSR and ending with the disintegration of the state sport system under M. Gorbachev. The most important problems of the sports movement in the Soviet Union, such as the internationalization of Soviet sport, in general, and the sport relations with the countries of the Socialist Block, in particular, as well as the balance of power between the Central Committee and the Sports Committee and other significant actors of this field, the trivial nationalism in the bleachers at the Soviet stadiums, and other topics were also discussed. The interview ends with a discussion of the prospects for historical sports research. The Lawn in the Stadium: From Sacred Grove to “Lawn People” This article is devoted to the problem of studying the lawn as a functional and symbolic element of the sports and entertainment areas. The lawn becomes the main subject of cultural analysis in the history of sport architecture for the first time. The research observes the historical epochs when flora on the whole and the lawn in particular acted as factors in creating the sports and entertainment culture. Sport in ancient times, in the past ages, and in the present day used natural space and vegetation differently. The Antic sport always trampled the surface and did not use the lawn, but this controversial culture has a cult of the sacred grove. The transformation of this Celtic cult led to the appearance of the British lawn tradition. This development involves a surrounding green field for ball games by architectural structures, the selection of which is within the boundaries of the park. In the 20th century, there was the creation of the universal type of stadium where a green football field occupies the central place. Today, a sports lawn is an attribute of the sacred grove, and a wide park space spreads out for private use and becomes technically reproducible. As the result of the study, we are able to designate a large set of problems, the most important of which is the paradox of preserving the symbolic status of the lawn in its physical transformation. The Renaissance of Atlantis Revolution as the Sleep of the Mind In this article author raises one of the most acute problems of human society, the problem of people’s behavior during periods of sharp social upheavals such as riots and revolutions. In comprehending great social upheavals, one can see how the mind disappears from society in these epochs, how the mind ‘falls asleep’, and how dreams give birth to monsters. The leader informs the crowd that everything is allowed, promising a golden dream first, and then a golden age. Husserl saw the decline of reason as the root cause of the European crisis in Revolutionary Russia in 1917. It was as if a numbness had struck the supporters of power, for they were fascinated by an unknown force since the February disaster. There was a “numb calm” (Heidegger). The personality disappears, the mind disappears, and society becomes simply a mass. After the abdication of the emperor who lived “the narrow realities of the present” (Schopenhauer) and who lost the ability to reason and assess the consequences of events, the elite sections of the Russian army were sworn in by the French ambassadors “whose names they did not even know”. It is understandable that the mind fell asleep not only of those in power, but also among its opponents. Then came the “great dope” (Bunin). Lenin, who was called a German spy and would arrive in a sealed car driven through a hostile Germany, would speak of the need for a civil war to the masses zombified by Bolshevik propaganda, and would be enthusiastically received. Russia and the Revolution: F. A. Stepun’s Philosophy and Sociology of Russian Culture This article discusses Stepun’s philosophical and sociological approaches to Russian history and culture. The subject of the analysis is the historical and artistic image of Russia created by Stepun in philosophical journalism and memoirs. A special place is given to the revealing of the foundations of Stepun’s philosophy of culture, as well as to develop specific ways of analyzing the cultural history of Russia by synthesizing philosophical reflection with the method of sociological observation. The article shows how Stepun retains a logical framework and a philosophical lexicon of the neo-Kantianism theory of culture in his sociological descriptions of the post-revolutionary history of Russia. Stepun takes the position of “participant observation” and enriches the interpretation of events using the methods of sociological analysis. This essay also discusses the way in which Stepun comprehended the idea of Russia in his social-philosophical analysis of Bolshevism. This paper explicates Stepun’s main historical and philosophical thesis that there has been a degeneration of political ideas into ideology and ideocracy in Bolshevism. Special attention is given to how Stepun contrasts the humanistic values of culture against the political ideologies of the twentieth century, which denies both freedom and the Christian faith. The article traces his philosophical solution to the problem of the Russian Revolution. His philosophical idea of Russian culture is considered as a form of the existence of a creative person possessing freedom and as a religious experience, and became a moral credo of Stepun. Moscow “Before” and “After” Revolution: The Sociology of the Native City in the Works of Fyodor Stepun This article is devoted to the analysis of the distinctive “sociology of Moscow” of the Russian philosopher and sociologist Fyodor Avgustovich Stepun (1884–1965) who was born, studied, and lived in Moscow until his expulsion in 1922 by the Bolshevik regime of Soviet Russia. From a large amount of factual material, the author shows how the creative experiences of the Muscovite Stepun were associated with two different periods of the life of Moscow, “before” and “after” the Revolution of 1917. Before the First World War, Moscow was a favorite theme of steppe-memoirs. Unlike many authors who called those years a “lost time” for Russia, Stepun, on the contrary, highly valued that time period for its social dynamism and diverse cultural creativity. A native Muscovite, Stepun was encouraged by the rapid pre-war growth of the old capital and had repeatedly declared the life in pre-war Moscow to be the “Golden Age” of Russian culture. He shared the idea that an “enlightened Russia” is “a better Europe” with his emigré friends, G. P. Fedotov and V. Wadle. A special place in the article is given to the analysis of Stepun’s attitude as an analyst and memoirist to the radical transformation of the “metaphysical landscape” of Moscow after the revolution; Stepun called it an “existential revolution” that broke all the usual human “identities”. According to Stepun, the Bolshevik Revolution literally produced a tectonic shift of human existence, not only knocking millions of people from their usual contexts of existence, but also stretching the limits of and exposing all of the primary “existential” meanings of human existence. Fedor Stepun’s Work in the German Emigration, as Exemplified by His Articles in the “Hochland” Magazine Fedor Stepun was a kind of a bridge between the German and Russian cultures. Stepun’s cooperation with the Catholic magazine “Hochland”, in which he published a number of articles after his expulsion from Soviet Russia in 1922, played a special role in this regard. The first section of the essay includes the analysis of the articles in which Stepun tried to explain what had happened to Russia after the overthrow of the czar and after the collapse of the fragile Russian democracy that had been created in February, 1917, to German readers. Although Stepun was ready to recognize a significant share of the Russian tragedy that began in October 1917 was the responsibility of the Russian democrats, he strongly rejected the widespread thesis among Russian emigrants that the democrats were “the only ones to blame for all the horrors of the current state of Russia”. The next topic of Stepun’s articles published in the magazine “Hochland” in the 1920s was the analysis of the Bolshevik regime, the first totalitarian regime in modern history. The second part of this essay analyzes Stepun’s articles which appeared in the magazine “Hochland” after Hitler came to power in January, 1933. As one of the last bastions of “half-free speech” in Nazi Germany, the magazine “Hochland”, granted Stepun, who remained a convinced democrat, the opportunity to publish his articles even after 1933. Although these articles were devoted to Russian subjects as a rule, they also contained criticism of the German order of that time between the lines. The Collapse of the Russian Army in 1917 The Russian empire was based on strength, and the survival of any of the state’s institutions was possible only if the country was protected by a powerful and efficient army. In order for the army to exist as a force, it needed iron discipline and a one-man management. In other words, as the support of power, the army should be led by a strong and recognized authority. Russian soldiers refused to recognize the authority of their commanders in 1917, thereby destroying the army’s base and leading to its complete collapse. This collapse led to the famous Order No. 1 being issued on March 1; this order became the point of no return for the Russian army. The points of this Order were highlighted by discipline and a one-man management. Further military legislation only aggravated the situation. This article analyzes the main initiatives of the Provisional Government concerning the reform of the army’s institutions. The article also emphasizes that these initiatives did not help to save the combat-capability of the Russian army weakened in the battlefields of the First World War, but that the Order’s initiatives in total were a good basis of the spreading of anti-government sentiments and the successful propaganda of the Bolsheviks. In using anti-government agitation, the Bolsheviks bet on inciting “class hatred” between officers and soldiers, which would make the unconditional fulfillment of the commander’s orders impossible. The author of the article underlines the point that further military legislation of revolutionary democracy only aggravated the situation. Protest Event Analysis as a Tool for Political Mobilization Studies In this paper, we analyze the scope and limits of protest event-analysis as a tool for studying political mobilization. Event-analysis is a form of content-analysis and allows for the reconstruction of the dynamics of contention and its key characteristics on the basis of different text sources (police and media reports, participatory observations, etc.). The inception of protest event-analysis is closely linked to the development of the comparative method in the social sciences and to the competition between the theories of collective action and social movements. The demand for wide cross-national comparisons and the quantification of social-political phenomena in addition to the pioneering works of Charles Tilly created the preconditions for a systematic collection of information on protest events. Four generations of event analysis led to the formulation of key concepts of collective action theory (“political opportunity structure”, “cycle of protest”, “repertoire of contention”, etc.), and also improved the techniques and procedures of data collection process, for example, by introducing the triangulation of sources using semi-automated coding. We also analyze the sources of systematic bias in data collection process (selective, descriptive, and research) and the possible means of correction. In addition, we compare the event catalogs of Russian protests and point to specifics of this case, namely, spatial heterogeneity, poor quality of media reports in absence of alternative sources, and the bias in media coverage towards big cities. Using the experience of the “Contention Politics in Russia” database development, we propose systematic methods and means which address the challenges of protest event-analysis in regards to Russia. What Kind of World Do We Live in? A World of Suburbs! In the autumn of 2017 Polity Press published a monograph by Roger Keil, the famous Canadian urbanist and coordinator of international research projects in the field of sub/urban studies. The book, Suburban Planet, explores the historical, conceptual, and thematic issues of modern global suburbanization which has become a massive and significant phenomenon in various regions of the world. Using a wide spectrum of academic literature in the field of urban and suburban studies, the author declares that the existing base of “western” and “centripetal-centrifugal” urban theory has to be re-thought. On the one hand, this statement builds on expanding the geography of suburban research in addition to an acquaintance with another trajectories of sub/urbanization in the regions of the Global South in post-socialist countries, and, on the other hand, is a criticism of the derivative significance of modern suburbs in relation to urban centers. In expanding these ideas, Keil notes the need for conscious work with the conceptual apparatus that has to take other traditions of suburban studies and urban theory, as well as other languages and ways of thinking, into account, and undertaking studies beyond the Anglo-Saxon paradigm. For Keil, the growing importance of the various forms of peripheral urban development in the modern world becomes a reason for reconsidering the very grounds of the creation of urban theory, as well as social theory as a whole. Emotions in Law and Politics: From Aristotle to the Present-Day Jurisprudence Book review: Liesbeth Huppes-Cluysenaer, Nuno M. M. S. Coelho, Aristotle on Emotions in Law and Politics (Berlin: Springer, 2018). “National or People’s Gallery”: The History of Brothers Tretiakov’s Collection Book review: Tatiana Yudenkova, Bratja Pavel Mihajlovich i Sergej Mihajlovich Tretjakovy: mirovozzrencheskie aspekty kollekcionirovanija vo vtoroj polovine XIX veka [Brothers Pavel Mikhailovich and Sergei Mikhailovich Tretyakovs: Worldview Aspects of Collecting in the Second Half of the 19th Century] (Moscow: BooksMArt, 2016) (in Russian). The Grammar of Thaw Book Review: Anatoly Pinsky (ed.), Posle Stalina: pozdnesovetskaja subjektivnost (1953–1985) [After Stalin: Subjectivity in the Late Soviet Union] (Saint Petersburg: EUSP Press, 2018) (in Russian).