The Russian Sociological Review, 2018 (1) en-us Copyright 2018 Sat, 31 Mar 2018 15:46:02 +0300 The Revolutionary Transformation of the Public Realm: An Arendtian Perspective The paper examines the relation between the public realm and revolution, the two central concepts of Hannah Arendt’s political philosophy. This relation plays a key role in Arendt’s theory of revolution, since the key purpose of a revolution is the liberation from oppression and the achievement of freedom, and the destruction of an old political realm and the creation of a new one, both of which are needed for the manifestation of free action. The main goal of our study is to analyze Arendt’s idea of the influence of revolutions on the public realm by examining its theoretical and practical scopes. In order to verify the conclusions concerning the actual applicability of Arendt’s theory of revolution, we analyze several cases of modern revolutions from that standpoint. Arendt’s arguments concerning the causes of the failures of revolutions, made on the basis of several historical examples of revolutions from the 18th to the mid-20th century, are largely justified, even though these arguments still can be challenged to some extent. On the other hand, the analysis of the concrete examples demonstrates the limits of the applicability of this theory as a model of a description of contemporary revolutions. Although the theory has a number of significant advantages, it is still in need of considerable revision. “The State of European Jurisprudence” by Carl Schmitt The article provides an analysis of “The State of European Jurisprudence” by Carl Schmitt. The article offers a brief reconstruction of Schmitt’s “mental geography”, that is, his thoughts on the place of Europe and Germany in the history of the 20th century, as well as on the geo-strategic affiliation of Soviet Russia. The first part ends with the author’s interesting reflections on how Schmitt would perceive the situation in the contemporary Russian Federation. At the beginning of the next section, the scholar presents his research framework which, in his opinion, allows him to adequately deal with the texts of such a complex author as Carl Schmitt. The second part also considers the different versions of a given paper and the context of its origin; this part pays special attention to Schmitt’s wartime lectures of 1943–1944 which already contained the semantic core of their subsequent 1950 publication. The third section reconstructs Schmitt’s reception of the history of jurisprudence which started in the 1920s. The fourth and final part analyses the structure of the paper itself. It presents Schmitt’s concept of the “cabinet of mirrors” as a kind of extremely successful illustration for the history of ideas: it is a set of referenced authors with whom he identified himself with during various years. The article ends with the conclusion stating the great heuristic potential of Schmitt’s oeuvre which contributes substantially to the understanding of current political and legal disputes. This article is a new version of a public lecture delivered by Reinhard Mehring, Professor of the Heidelberg University of Education, and a renowned biographer and scholar of Carl Schmitt. The article was revised for this Russian publication. The author, taking the particular interests of an Russian audience into account, added a special fragment on the significance of Russia’s image in Schmitt’s works. Site of Death: The Meanings of the Siege of Leningrad in Late Soviet Culture The article attempts to discover the place of besieged Leningrad on a “cognitive map” of late Soviet culture from 1960s to the 1980s. The images of the blockaded city which were reproduced during those decades are considered by the author in connection with the issue of spatial perception. The study focuses on the Piskarevskoye cemetery, a peculiar space located outside of the “historic center of Saint Petersburg” and established for a memorial purpose. However, the author refuses to formulate her tasks in terms of “collective memory,” and explores the symbolically-charged and existentially-meaningful practices hidden behind the memorial rhetoric, although not related to the mnemonic processes. The article relies on two types of sources. The first source is Soviet albums and tourist brochures dedicated to the Piskarevskoye cemetery, and the second source is the memories of the respondents of their visits to this memorial in late Soviet times. In the first case, we talk about a normative view of the regimentation of affects, and setting the modes of mourning. The second case is about the possibilities of the reconstruction of the complex personal experience, often involving, as the article shows, a deep emotional shock. In complementing each other, these sources allow us to see the images of the Siege of Leningrad as a kind of projection of the notions about death, and as a symbolic “hell” that is located on the opposite pole from the symbolic “paradise” promised in a utopian Communist future. Deputies of the State Duma of the Russian Federation: Career Characteristics after the Termination of Office The article is devoted to the analysis of the careers of the deputies of the State Duma after their termination of office. The empirical base of research is a biographical database containing, in particular, information on the post-Duma work of 1209 parliamentarians. The most important institutional channels within which the careers of former deputies are being held are economic and administrative structures, with some ex-legislators being part of the nationwide administrative and economic elites. Legislative bodies and scientific-educational structures play an important role as a place of work for deputies after having left the Duma. In addition, an appreciable percentage of the deputies occupied the posts serving the activities of the lower house of parliament and its members (deputies’ assistants, or staff of the Duma apparatus) after the end of office. The nature of the post-Duma career is presumably partly related to the career characteristics preceding the election to the Duma. Among the deputies with post-parliamentary experience in administrative and scientific-educational structures, and regional legislatures and in key positions in commercial organizations, the corresponding pre-parliamentary experience is more widespread than in the entire study population. Moreover, some of the deputies were at the same place of work immediately after the end of office, or in the same or similar position, which is mainly characteristic of people from the business and scientific-educational spheres. For many of the deputies, the parliamentary position became a springboard for reaching higher positions of employment immediately after leaving the State Duma than those they occupied at the time of election. At the same time, only a minority continued to retain their membership in the power elite of the nationwide level after their resignations. “Find Out the Truth about Your Literacy!” The Total Dictation as a Form of Flash Mob The main features of the Total Dictation as a form of a flash mob are considered in the article. The main characteristics of a flash mob are illustrated, especially its ephemerity, the simultaneous and public action that is based on strict rules and scenario, and its organization through the Internet and contemporary communication networks, or social media. The main factors of the development of flash mobs are a dissatisfaction with existing forms of social participation, and the improvement of new electronic forms of social communication. Flash mobs come under the two headings of classic and modernized. A classical flash mob does not have any goals. The modernized flash mob has some ideology defining it and can be organized during a specific time. The Total Dictation is the mass action for people who want to evaluate his or her literacy through writing dictation in different places in Russia, around the world, and online. It is organized in Russia and fulfilled by the experts from the Novosibirsk State University, and also serves the rising interest in the Russian language. During the process of the analysis, it is discovered that the Total Dictation is the one of the forms of the modernized flash mobs. It is a mass event because its popularity has grown to a global level. It also has its own ideology, and it is carried out at the same time in different places. It is also a public action, has a clear scenario, and rules for its manifestation. The main function of organization belongs to the website, and to the groups in social media. The Total Dictation also has leaders, clear goals, and a differentiation of the participants, what means that it can be defined as the modernized form of flash mobs. The results of the interviews with participants confirmed the existence of the flash mobs’ features, especially special emotional situations (“like before an exam”), and the identification with the group of patriotic intellectuals who are fond of the Russian language. Gender Contract in Online Commercials in Japan: A Critical Investigation of the Contemporary Discourse on the Work-Life Balance This paper adopts a multimodal critical discourse analysis (MCDA) approach and examines how recent online commercials produced in Japan articulate the discourses pertaining to the trending concept of work-life balance (WLB). Further, the study analyzes the narratives of working mothers in Japan who were asked to watch the selected videos and share their thoughts on WLB. As such, it investigates the effects of the discourses transmitted through commercials on women’s perceptions of their identities as workers, partners and mothers. The analysis of the multimodal data made it possible to identify the underlying discourses on WLB and gender roles conveyed through the videos. These hidden discourses were highly complex and generally contradicted the readily manifest messages of the respective commercials. One of the central messages in these discourses was the promotion of an apologetic attitude and empathy through one-time “heroic deeds” done by men for their wives. The study participants’ narratives revealed their personal aspirations for a desirable WLB, while simultaneously unveiling how they unconsciously internalized many of the videos’ discursive impositions. The study contributes to the application of critical discourse analysis methods and to the discussion on the reconstitution of gender roles, necessary for the implementation of both public and private WLB strategies, in Japan and elsewhere. Modernity and Personal Identity: Patient’s Construct in Holistic Medicine (Homeopathy’s Case) The uncertainty of personal identity is traditionally mentioned among the most fundamental concepts of modernity. This paper focuses on the typical ways in which this idea is constructed by conventional everyday practices. A particular form of holistic medicine known as homeopathy was chosen as the object of the research. Texts written by influential authors related to the homeopathic milieu were used as the most important sources. As it can be seen, modern homeopaths reinvented the classical tradition by putting the unique individual features of a patient at the center of the treatment. They search for some special matter or “central delusion” which hides the person’s individuality. The personal construct of a modern human being, for example, a strong person who defends their personal boundaries and seeks their identity is put to use to describe new homeopathic remedies. As a result, the concept of “new remedies for new people” comes into existence. Furthermore, homeopaths transfer traditional cultural attributes of substances which are used to produce remedies to the remedies themselves. The success of new remedies symbolically lets homeopaths test new identities. Such an approach carries an important therapeutic function and helps a person of “liquid modernity” living in a condition of uncertainty of their personal identity and suffering from the state of “existential isolation” (Giddens, 1991) to make their live more harmonic and balanced. Big Data in Sociology: New Data, New Sociology? Recently, we are witnessing an aspiration in the social sciences to collect and analyze the data about human behavior that is being produced with an unprecedented depth and scale. In this article, we discuss how this new data may impact sociology. Big Data has been defined in various ways in literature. Some of the latest works reveal that the key definitional boundary marker is not the volume of data produced, but the traits of velocity and exhaustivity. The differences of this new type of data are that it is not created for research purposes, that it covers the entire population, and that it is produced in real-time. There are two ways to answer the question of key changes in sociology in the era of Big Data. First, new online-data can greatly improve traditional sociological subfields which were prevented from being developed because of a lack of data. Now, there are new results based on online-data which shed light on the causal effect of social influence. Big data can also enable the development of new lines of research because of rapidly-developing computational techniques. This is especially important for those research areas which deal with large bodies of text, and most importantly, new techniques can greatly improve the sociology of culture where empirical research has been less developed when compared with theoretical ideas. Secondly, new data can have an impact on the disciplinary project of sociology. The article ends with the discussion of how Big Data can be used to support data-driven sociology, which differs from mainstream sociology where hypotheses are offered a priori, data is collected, and analyses are conducted to determine the degree to which the hypotheses are supported. Income Stratification: Putting a Spotlight on the Boundaries The paper aims to deliver an extended review of both Russian and international studies that have contributed considerably to the income stratification discourse. The very importance of the given research is justified by the lack of systematic studies in the field of the one-dimensional stratification of the Russian society, although applied socio-economic research uses broadly one-dimensional classifications based on income. The given paper considers and systemizes the results of income groups classifications developed both within the absolute and relative approaches. At the present time, neither international nor Russian studies propose a conventional view on the boundaries between income groups while at the same time developing a model of income stratification applicable to industrially-advanced societies. The main reason is that researchers dealing with income scales are normally focused on specific social groups such as the poor, the middle class, the affluent, and the rich rather than the whole society and its structure. Furthermore, we have shown that sociological papers are more likely to support the relative approach, and particularly a median approach. Researchers have even reached a fragile consensus regarding some of the boundaries of this scale, that is, they seem to agree that the interval of 0,75–1,25 of median incomes allows for the determination of the economic middle class for industrially advanced societies. The majority of scholars are in agreement that incomes exceeding the 2 and below the 0,5 medians represent the boundaries that distinguish opposing social groups, that is, the top and bottom of a society, correspondingly. The present study has a multidisciplinary focus so that it might be of interest to sociologists, economists, demographers, and applied statisticians. Knowledge and Consciousness as a “World-Constructing” Tool: A Multidisciplinary Perspective The topic of knowledge and consciousness is multidisciplinary. In the human sciences, it has been studied by various scientific and intellectual communities. The sciences of philosophy, sociology, psychology, biology, and language and communication have offered (sometimes independently of each other) numerous perspectives on this wide topic while sharing many similarities. Constructivism can be considered as an umbrella term that includes a number of subject-centered theories that give a precise, paradigmatically-shaped answer to the question about the functions of knowledge and consciousness, and their perception of their world. From the constructivist perspective, subjective instrumentarium of knowledge and consciousness helps individuals in both their construction and cognitive and practical exploration of natural and social universes (or “multiple worlds of experience”). In this study, an attempt is made to analyze the theoretical prerequisites and the genesis of constructivism as a specific multidisciplinary approach in the social sciences and the humanities. This approach conceptualizes the idea that individual and/or collective consciousness plays an active role in the formation of the everyday and scientific pictures of the world shaping the actions of social actors. Successive and distinctive features of certain constructivist concepts are presented as well as the degree of their ideological relationships, and the isomorphism and potential convertibility is revealed. Particular attention is paid to the constructivist motives of a number of popular philosophic and scientific theories of the 20th century, including neo-Kantianism; conventionalism in the philosophy and methodology of science; N. Goodman’s pluralistic concept of “worldmaking”; H. Maturana and F. Varela’s theory of autopoiesis, in which a system is capable of reproducing and maintaining itself; cognitive psychology including G. Kelly’s personal construct theory; and J. Bruner’s categorization theory. The “Sociological-–°aloric” Value of Food: Culinary, Cultural, and Spatial “Measurements” The article was initially intended as a review of Carolyn Steel’s book Hungry City: How Food Shapes Our Lives. However, the author’s foreword on the reasons and variations of the sociological interest in food turned the review into the reflections on the ways of (or a kind of) sociological analysis of food’s role in the contemporary consumer society, a role that cannot be simply reduced to a “fuel” necessary for the trouble-free operation of man as a biological creature. There are several clearly-defined contexts of the scientific analysis of food that can be of interest and importance for sociologists. These contexts include the macroeconomic approach (such as various interpretations of food security from the social-economic to the (geo)political, such as the Russian state’s politicized discourse of import substitution that ignores the population’s real food practices and access to food); the gender-economic approach (a ‘feminized’ version of economic history); the culinary-ideological approach (when the recipes of the usual cookbook or the model of public catering development hide the ideological didactic instructions on the mandatory way of life, i.e., “political dietology”); and the historical-cultural-anthropological approach (the attempts to reconstruct the social-cultural codes of food and its role in the epoch-making events of the past). Such wide boundaries of today’s scientific interpretations of food allowed the presentation of the Hungry City as an almost ideal example of the sociological analysis of the social life of food in all its diverse manifestations (such as the production and transportation of food, urbanization and food markets, the transformations of home kitchens’ design, the development of the public catering system, social meanings of the joint meal-and-wastes recycling, social justice and utopias), even though the book focuses on only the culinary culture of England. Focusing the Gaze Book review: Ash Amin, Nigel Thrift. Seeing Like a City (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2017) “Russian Talks” by Andrey Teslya: New Talk with Favorite Companions Book review: Andrei Teslya. Russian Talks: Faces and Situations (Moscow: RIPOL klassik, 2018). Another “The City” by Max Weber in Russian Book review: Max Weber, Gorod [The City] (Moscow: Strelka Press, 2017).