The Russian Sociological Review, 2023 (3) en-us Copyright 2023 Sat, 30 Sep 2023 23:22:12 +0300 Cathectic Mechanisms of Culture. Part 1 The first part of the article introduces a new research program that focuses on the constitutive role of emotions, affect, and their intensity in meaning-making. It opposes the existing broad tradition that effectively posits culture as information and sees cultural processes as coding, transferring, and processing information. I suggest that such a “cybernetic” paradigm of culture stems from the implicit or explicit domination of the computational models of cognition in sociology. However, current progress in cognitive neuroscience and its theoretical comprehension makes these models inadequate. The ongoing shift to distributed models of cognition calls for an adjustment of the concept of culture regarding its “vertical”, emotional dimension. Instead of seeing emotions as an “amplifier” of pre-existing cultural meanings or as a “fuel” of social processes, we should see emotions as an ingredient of an emergent synthesis that creates culture. The first part of the article introduces a historical-sociological reconstruction of theories recognizing an integral emotional dimension of culture; this is opposed to the entire sub-discipline of the sociology of emotions that broadly describes the mutual influences between social life and emotions as a human psychic trait. In the context of the ongoing debates about a cognitive turn in sociology, this historical-sociological reconstruction allows me to build a Durkheimian theory of cathectic mechanisms of culture based on the re-interpretation of the Freudian concept of cathexis. The article also contains the basic principles and implications of the sociological theory of cathexis. Retroactive Categorizations, or Post-Coloniality as Condition The rise of the post-colonial and de-colonial narrative that is being experienced nowadays in post-Soviet countries stands in contrast with the rejection of this narrative by the Russian academic and sociocultural mainstream. The paper analyzes the opportunities and constrains of the “post-colonialism” conceptual framework. As well, the arguments of researchers who were skeptical about this framework are reconstructed. The author separates “post-colonialism” as a research strategy and “de-colonialism” (“de-colonial thought”) as a form of activism. According to the author, the paradigm of post-colonial studies, despite its inherent theoretical shortcomings, contains a serious analytical potential, while de-colonialism is an internally contradictory ideological program. In addition, the article makes a distinction between post-colonialism as a situation and post-colonialism as a reflection on this situation. Post-coloniality is possible without colonialism. It denotes the comprehension and rethinking of a certain historical experience, regardless of whether the past condition qualifies as colonial. Paradoxes of the Soviet-Chinese and Liberal-Democratic Models of Government The article focuses on two models of political and state formations, those of liberal-democratic and Soviet-Chinese. The use of Niklas Luhmann’s concept of decision in analyzing their systemic foundations opens a new perspective on both these models and the contemporary political process. A brief overview of the discussion on the topic of decision-making in organizations was offered, and the heuristic value of Niklas Luhmann’s concept of decision was substantiated. One of his key definitions of decision is that decision-making can be described as the transformation of uncertainty into risk. In this view, decision is seen as a function and element of the organization or organizational systems. An organization continuously makes decisions, though none solve the problem because it is based on a paradox: only those issues that are fundamentally undecidable can be decided. At the same time, each new decision is not only a response to the challenges of the surrounding world, but is contingently determined by a series of previous decisions. Therefore, one can say that the decision-making process is based on the paradox that constitutes the organization and determines its specificity and identity. The article demonstrates that the liberal-democratic model is based on the paradox of politics and administration. The Soviet-Chinese model is based on the paradox of party and state. Editorial Carl Schmitt's “Tyranny of Values” in the Context of the Debate on the Nature of Constitutional Rights Discussions about the nature of constitutional rights set out in the Constitution emerged in post-war Germany in the late 1950s and early 1960s, triggered by the judgement of the German Federal Constitutional Court in the so-called “Lu╠łth case”. In this judgement, for the first time, the Court clearly articulated the position that fundamental rights are an objective value system that extends its legal force to all branches of law, including civil law. One of the fiercest critics of the Court decision was Ernst Forsthoff, a disciple of Carl Schmitt. In a series of articles, he attacked the “value” legal interpretation, pointing out that it leads not only to the destruction of the legal method and the loss of jurisprudence autonomy, but also to changes in the institutional structure of the state. E. Forsthoff’s criticism was predominantly juridical, focusing on the actual law enforcement, as well as on the theoretical-legal origins of value interpretation which he found in R. Smend’s “integration theory”. In contrast, C. Schmitt, in Tyranny of Values, practically omitted legal arguments and attacked the philosophical basis of the German Court’s position. Relying on M. Weber, the German legal scholar attempted to demonstrate that the adoption of value interpretation by constitutional justice means the direct application of values, which destroys the rule of law. Despite the different trends of criticism, the conclusions reached by E. Forsthoff and C. Schmitt show a significant similarity in that both call for the autonomy of legal science and a return to the formal legal state. The “Tyranny of Values” as the “will to Power”: on the Genealogy and Effects of Value Discourse in Justice K. Schmitt’s essay “The Tyranny of Values” helps to clarify the genealogy and effects of the value turn in justice. The first part of the article explains the differences between the traditional judicial method, which operates with norms and the way judges deal with values. It is noted that judges’ methods of dealing with values are hermetic and irrational. The second part substantiates that the main object of Schmitt’s criticism was F. Nietzsche’s metaphysics of values in the analysis of which he follows M. Heidegger. Schmitt notes such a property of values as their subjective significance, as well as the interrelated punctuality and perspectivism of value thinking conditioning its aggressiveness. He omits the reference to the connection of value thinking with the Nietzschean concept of the will to power, but the assumption of such a connection is necessary to explain the aggressiveness of the logic of values. In the third part, several cases from case law of the European Court of Human Rights are presented. It is shown that the Court determines the value of an act of behavior not by correlating it with legally valid norms, but voluntarily. It is this mode of the judicial resolution of cases that Schmitt called the terror of the automatic realization of values unmediated by norms. In conclusion, it is noted that Schmitt’s essay points with varying degrees of clarity to the three implications of value discourse in justice, those of the methodological, political-institutional, and ethical. War in the Time of Love: Reflection on the Paper by Svyatoslav Kaspe in the Light of the Distinction between Private and Public Enmity in the Teachings of Carl Schmitt The article develops the discussion initiated by professor S. I. Kaspe in his 2023 paper Love in the Time of War. Contra autonomy of the Political. The text formulates Carl Schmitt’s supposed response to S. I. Kaspe’s proposal to de-autonomize the political by creating an opportunity for the partial subordination of political relations to the Christian commandment, indicating the necessity of love for one’s enemies (Mt 5:44). It is noted that, according to Schmitt, the considered prescription is valid only for private enmity, representing a different continuum in relation to the public enmity that realizes political antagonism. Love directed towards a private enemy is entirely acceptable to Schmitt. In the conditions of external tension, it can contribute to the temporary oblivion of interpersonal conflicts, thus strengthening political unity, and is fully consistent with the logic of Schmitt’s teaching. Carl Schmitt’s reference to Plato’s description of stasis (civil war, sedition) as an illustration of the private enmity is analyzed in the text in the light of its possible contradictions. It is argued that none of the forms of stasis reveals confrontation with inimicus, the private enemy. It is questioned whether love is admissible under the conditions of a full-fledged foreign war (in Schmitt’s understanding) as the apogee of political enmity. The answer takes the characteristics of various forms of war into account. A number of contemporary military trends is considered as significantly narrowing the space for love. The “Orthodox Belt” on Russia’s Electoral Map in 2011–2021 The article explores the relationship between Orthodox religiosity and voting in Russia in 2011–2021. Using the theoretical framework of de-secularization from above which claims that church structures play a key role in the religious renaissance policy, we argue that the rise of the political influence of the ROC (Russian Orthodox Church) may be explained by its capacity for the dissemination of traditional values that ultimately results in votes for United Russia and President Vladimir Putin in national elections. This study reveals the emergence of a new area on Russia’s political map, that of the Orthodox belt, which combines higher levels of Orthodox religiosity and pro-Kremlin voting in national elections. Using multiple empirical strategies, we construct an index of religiosity on the regional level and identify the Orthodox Belt regions, test the relationship between Orthodox religiosity and voting in the national elections in 2011–2018, and test the differences in value orientations and electoral support between the Orthodox Belt regions and others. We conclude that non-Orthodox Belt regions in Russia with higher Orthodox religiosity, conservatism, and loyalty are an emerging trend in the Russian political geography. Why Do Citizens Trust the Government? The Origins of Political Trust in Modern Russia Political trust is central to the study of political regimes. The level of public support for a government or party is one of the most important indicators of political legitimacy and stability. The article examines the quantitative indicators of the influence of socio-psychological, civic, institutional, and informational factors on political trust. The purpose of the study was to understand the factors influencing trust in the Russian government. The analysis was based on data from the sociological survey of the 7th wave of the World Values Survey (2017-2022). Using the Russian data set, the authors assessed the impact of interpersonal and general trust, involvement in non-profit and non-governmental organizations, citizens’ perceptions of their financial situation, security and corruption, and watching TV news on trust in government institutions. This study shows that high levels of interpersonal and societal trust have a positive impact on political trust. This study proposes and confirms the hypothesis that watching political television programs improves trust in the government. The article complements existing empirical studies on institutional trust and adapts well-known theories explaining the origin of trust to the Russian political context. Canons and Colonies: a Global Trajectory of Sociology The history of sociology as a field of knowledge, especially in the English-speaking world, has been obscured by the discipline’s own origin myth in the form of a canon of “classical theory” concerned with European modernity. Sociology was involved in the world of empire from the start. Making the canon more inclusive, in gender, race, and even global terms, is not an adequate correction. Important types of social knowledge, including movement-based and indigenous knowledges, resist canonization. The turn towards decolonial and Southern perspectives, now happening across the social sciences, opens up new perspectives on the history of knowledge. These can be linked with a more sophisticated view of the collective production of knowledge by the workforces that are increasingly, though unequally, interacting. Potentials for a more effectively engaged sociology emerge. The Representation and Politicization of the Covid-19 Pandemic on the Front Pages of the Daily Newspapers of Russia, Italy, the United Kingdom, Spain, France, Portugal, Germany, and the United States The impact COVID-19 has demanded an additional effort from the media to report a virus of global reach. During the lockdown, there has been an increase in information consumption derived from the interest and concern of citizens to know the characteristics, development, and threats of the coronavirus. Although social networks have ranked first among the cyberspace platforms most consulted by citizens, different studies indicate that citizens consider newspapers and magazines to have ‘good intentions’ compared to the ‘worst intentions’ of cyber-media and websites. Based on this, the research focuses on the covers of the paper editions of the newspapers, conceived as a fundamental element that synthesizes and hierarchizes the content that each medium considers of greatest importance and that is connected to the digital version of each medium. This research presents a comparative study of the newspaper covers of eight countries in the world (Italy, United Kingdom, Spain, France, Portugal, United States, Russia, and Germany) to analyze the number of news items about the pandemic, the type of text, the typology of information sources, the characters, the use of color, the inclusion and the focus of the photographs or the location on the page, among other parameters. The study analyzes 288 front pages of 16 daily newspapers (2 per country) in the world, collecting 1,478 news items that include 710 pieces of news, and 94,592 pieces of evidence using a mixed method of direct observation and hemerographic analysis. As a result, the few mentions of affected people and health personnel in front page information is evident, as is the predominance of news journalistic genres (brief and news, especially), and the political figures as the most represented actors shows a high degree of politicization of the global crisis. Finally, it is observed that the visual frames in the analyzed newspapers tend to promote humanization through emotional representation. Human-Machine Interdependence Beyond Ai Development: the Case of Bitcoin This paper aims to analyze Bitcoin as an identifiable system of human-machine interdependence. The authors start with a brief historical outline of the Bitcoin project and discuss questions that Bitcoin poses to social sciences, such as whether Bitcoin is money, how the Bitcoin project relates to economic theory, what determines the value of a Bitcoin, and what are the conditions for trust in Bitcoin? Finally, what happens when the Bitcoin project becomes a reality? In what follows, the authors correlate the existence of Bitcoin with the spread of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies as active intermediaries and participants in human interactions. After observing the similarities and differences between AI and the Bitcoin project, the idea of whether Bitcoin can act as “artificial money” for AI is discussed, and the reality of human-machine interdependence is exemplified. In conclusion, the authors define Bitcoin as a particular system of human-machine interdependence initially conceived as an alternative to money; however, in reality, it supplements the existing economic order. Evolution of the Hofstede Model of Cultural Dimensions: Parallels Between Objective and Subjective Culture Some 40 years ago, the Dutch social scientist Geert Hofstede laid the foundations of the science of modern cultural comparisons and created the most popular model of national culture that is still in use today across the world. Meanwhile, numerous issues with that model have been identified and the need for a thorough revision has become obvious. This article briefly explains Hofstede’s model and its issues and summarizes the existing revisions of it, resulting in a new, simpler, and more robust Minkov-Hofstede model. This new version explains a wide range of differences in national indicators, such as transparency-corruption, gender equality, road death tolls and industrial fatalities, educational achievement, violent crime, adolescent fertility, family structure, and innovation rates, to name just a few. These indicators form a pattern that is similar to the new Minkov-Hofstede model and can be explained through similar theories. This is evidence that subjective culture (what people think and feel) has a mirror image in objective culture (what people do). The new Minkov-Hofstede model can be applied to countries, as well as to some sub-national units such as US states. The Growth of Organized Violence Structures and the Types of Control Over Them Macro-historical changes in the practices and structures of organized violence have their own regularities that require theoretical analysis. It is shown that the steady growth and development of these structures are determined by the main trends of social evolution such as demographic growth, the expansion and complication of polities, and the development of technologies and weapons. The internal mechanisms of both the cyclicality and the direction and irreversibility of these changes are considered. The practices of organized violence have changed considerably, and many of those unacceptable today were once common, socially approved, and even obligatory. Hypothetical principles have been formulated for the emergence, spread, and termination of such practices, which are always connected with the nature and outcome of political struggle, as well as with the change of worldviews consisting of primarily moral, social and political values and corresponding normative principles. The inevitable costs of the growth of violence structures are associated primarily with the possibility of their leaders gaining political subjectivity and claims to power, which is fraught with conspiracies, revolts, and similar phenomena that undermine social and political stability. These costs generate concerns of the rulers and elites to control the violence structures. Three basic forms of such control have been described as “ideal types”, those of patrimonial-charismatic control based on emotional commitment to the ruler, conflict-repressive control with divide-and-conquer strategies, and bureaucratic control involving subordination to formal rules. The last type includes two versions, with a reliance on the principle of power and on the principle of law. The social and mental foundations that support the rule of law in institutions and organizations of state violence are examined. Comprehension of Russian Culture (“Theater Review”) The article analyzes the recently-published third part of Olga Zhukova’s trilogy devoted to Russian culture, Russian philosophy, and the philosophy of Russian culture. The article’s author suggests that this book, as well as previous parts of the trilogy, contains extensive, largely unknown material about the studied area. Besides the richness of the factual material, the advantage of the book is that it encourages a reader’s interest in the considered stories; at the same time, it provokes an internal polemic with Zhukova, produces the desire to reflect on the various statements made, and, probably, even enters the discussion with the author. The cornerstone of Zhukova’s concept is the thesis about the fundamental conditionality of Russian culture and Russian philosophy on Eastern Christianity. According to this concept, there is a direct conditionality in some cases, while an indirect conditionality appears through the dialectical contradiction in some others. The article’s author does not find this thesis to be ultimately correct. Another separate object of the article’s discussion is the reviewed book’s polygraphic features. Magic, Debauchery and… Translations Book review: Togoeva O. (2022) Kings and Witches: Magic in Western European Political Culture, 12-17th cent. Moscow-Sankt-Peterburg: Centre gumanitarnyh iniziativ. — 328 p. ISBN 978-5-98712-334-8 Trembling Flesh, Metabolic Techniques Book Review: Shildrick M. (2023). Visceral Prostheses: Somatechnics and Posthuman Embodiment. London, New York, New Delhi, Sydney: Bloomsbury Academic. — 272 p. ISBN 9781350176492 Historical Sociology of Unfreedom? Book review: Sergeev S. M. (2023) Russian autocracy. Power and its limits: 1462-1917. Moscow: Yauza-catalogue. — 576 p. ISBN: 978-5-00155-549-0. (In Russian). Norman Denzin’s Truth: an Introduction to the Scientific Obituary