The Russian Sociological Review, 2021 (4) en-us Copyright 2021 Fri, 31 Dec 2021 01:47:54 +0300 Perturbations of Private and Public under COVID-19 COVID-19 and the Grey Zone of Rule-Following The paper deals with the phenomenon of the grey zone of rule-following — actions that may be perceived as both corresponding to some rule and as breaking this rule. The pandemic of COVID-19 brought the grey zone into relief because a significant part of the responses to imposed anti-COVID measures consists in following new rules less than completely, with the typical example being a lowered mask that covers only the mouth and not the nose. It is argued here that grey-zone actions, if viewed as public activities, have specific spatial and temporal social organization: they are designed to be flexible and oriented toward the possibility of completing them if necessary. At the same time, they are produced to be observably accountable as actions-according-to-the-rule, to prevent an attribution to the actor rule-breaking. The paper also describes some properties of situations where grey-zone actions produce tension, forcing the actor and other participants to initiate an argument or a conflict. The main point of the paper is that performing actions belonging to the grey zone of rule-following does not testify to the actor’s non-observance of the rule. It is better to describe grey-zone actions as rule-oriented and not rule-following or not-following. This suggests that social scientists should abandon dichotomic approach when analyzing rule-following activities, and pay more attention to the participants’ own practices of making sense and order of rules. Extending of the Legal Order During Pandemic: The Russian Perspective The unprecedented measures of quarantine regulation have led philosophers and lawyers around the world to speak of the fragility of democratic freedoms and the return of the state of emergency as a political reality described in the writings of 20th century theorists. However, the imposed restrictions are considered in the works either in relation to the legal mechanism of their imposition, or through the prism of political philosophy. In addition, the Russian experience has not been sufficiently highlighted in the publications. This article attempts to synthesize legal analysis with political-legal philosophy in order to show that the extension of the legal order is always embedded in its logic. The first part of the article shows how what has been mentioned at the level of philosophical reflection and in relation to foreign legal orders that have been implemented in Russia, using the example of substantive legal practice. The second half of the text draws attention to the logic of protest which coincides with the logic of both the police and the state. Since the rights to which the protesters draw attention to have their source precisely in the existing legal order, both the actions of the law-enforcement authorities and the actions of the protesters are aimed at protecting it. The conclusion is that the danger of this situation is that the normative system could poten-tially replace social reality in the future. The Academicians on Quarantine: Reflexivity and Fragility of the Privileged Group at the Start of Pandemic The goal of this article is to analyze the challenges faced by social researchers during the first months of the pandemic of 2020 when work-life issues were problematized and academic routine changed. The article is based on a dataset of diaries in which researchers with an academic background in social sciences and humanities were fixing their everyday life and reflecting on its changes. We explore why academicians, a relatively privileged group due to their possibilities of safe remote-working and maintaining professional obligations during the period of lockdown, experienced strong moral emotions related to work. We argue that basic references of space and time lost their routine structure, hindered work productivity, and threatened the “proper”, disciplined, and productive academic self. In their written narratives, participants of the project describe different emotional responses to this situation, with a focus on negative feelings including anxiety and guilt. The new reality was characterized by the layering of previously separated tasks at the same time and space boundaries, and therefore, in overload. At the same time, academicians were deprived of routine forms of face-to-face professional communications and networking. Academicians are oriented towards self-discipline and productivity, and self is produced via normative (self) evaluation and the juxtaposition with reference group(s). When the rules are changed, unstable, or constantly violated, it threatens the self. Moral emotions indicate this process until the new social order becomes inhabited and routinized. Communicating COVID-19 on Social Media: The Effects of the Spiral of Silence In this paper, the Spiral of Silence theory (SOS) in the study of mass communications is applied to examine the trends and mechanisms of public opinion in Social Media (SM), using the popular topic of the COVID-19 pandemic. The study includes a secondary analysis of the data on pandemic information consumption obtained through four mass surveys conducted in Armenia. In the period from July 1 to August 30, 2020, we also surveyed Armenian Facebook users by means of Google forms during the highest outbreak of the pandemic in Armenia. In particular, the study demonstrates that although the majority of people are well informed about both public conduct requirements and the sanctions for misconduct during the pandemic, they do not follow the rules but hide their real opinion, preferring to openly agree with the official position while silently breaking the rules (that is, they keep their silence). We have found a correlation between the opinion environment of “friends” and other Facebook users, and a willingness to express their own opinion. Due to the predominance of the self-presentation mode as a communication strategy on Facebook, there is a trend among Armenian users not to risk their reputation, and avoid possible critics by keeping silence, if the discussion goes against their opinion. The findings of the study might be helpful both for the further development of communication theories and its application to the conditions of new pandemic reality, and for a better understanding of communicative behavior mechanisms in SM. From Isolation to Violence: Changes of the Domestic Environment in the Iranian Family under COVID-19 Domestic violence became a worldwide social problem during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially during the period of lockdown. It has been also experienced in some Iranian families examined in our research. The article presents the data obtained by semi-structured interviews and draws some (so-far tentative) conclusions about the nature of the changes in the regime of relations of the traditional Iranian family, including the intensification of domestic violence, and the prevailing mental/emotional violence. Among the variety of nuances in the types of violence, some of them are already well classified, such as symbolic, physical, and economic. Other manifestations of domestic violence are humiliation and verbal violence, the intensification of restrictions on (or even the interrupting of) a woman’s relationship with her friends and acquaintances by her husband; the husband’s violence against their children; dis-putes over the observance of health tips during the quarantine period, and the intensification of religious conflicts during the period of home quarantine need further study and interpretation. As theory-oriented research, it involves the study of the relationship of various types of violence, starting with the newest ones of self-violence and self-isolation, and getting through the modifications of already-known types of violence which are caused by the first type. The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Public Transport Passenger Categorization Practices: The Case of the Moscow Metro The paper is concerned with the social categorizations and perception of social diversity of the Moscow Metro passengers. Drawing on the Goffman’s theory, I assume that the interaction between passengers is based on categorization, which links appearance and behavior of people with their cultural expectations. The categorization allows to make interaction participants identifiable and accountable. In 2020 face masks and gloves, social distancing transformed the process of categorization having directly affected per-sonal front of city dwellers and situational proprieties. Using the theoretical resources of Erving Goffman, Harvey Sacks, and contemporary urban researchers, I compare how passengers of Moscow Metro recog-nized and defined each other under the regular circumstances and during the self-isolation regime, which was enforced by the city authorities at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The study is built around three general types of “Others” that were developed as abductive notions: non-specific, specific, and stigmatized Others. I analyze how these types are situationally produced and to what extent they change when the localized interactional order undergoes significant transformations. On the one hand, this study is aimed at a detailed documentation of the unique socio-historical situation that occurred at an early stage of the pandemic. On the other hand, I use it as a “natural” breaching experiment that helps to reveal the basic elements of temporal and local specificity of the social order. Pandemic Challenges to Sociology: A Review Excessive Faith in Certainty and Its Public Proponents in the Non-linear Uncertain World: Reasons and . . . More Reasons Book Review: Margaret Heffernan. Uncharted: How Uncertainty Can Power Change (London: Simon & Schuster, 2021). Political Philosophy around Pandemic, or Vice Versa? Book Review: Fay Niker, Aveek Bhattacharya (eds.). Political Philosophy in a Pandemic: Routes to a More Just Future (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2021). Book Review: Deborah Lupton, Clare Southerton, Marianne Clark, Ash Watson. The Face Mask in COVID Times: A Sociomaterial Analysis (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2021)