The Russian Sociological Review, 2021 (2) http://sociologica.hse.ru en-us Copyright 2021 Tue, 29 Jun 2021 03:42:41 +0300 Russia as a Plebiscitary Democracy https://sociologica.hse.ru/en/2021-20-2/482205821.html Electoral procedures, such as elections, voting, or opinion polling, play a pivotal role in the Russian political system. A theoretical problem for contemporary political science arises; how can this proactive recourse to the popular voice coexist with the obvious depoliticization and concentration of personal power? Describing the Russian political regime as intermediary and inferior as opposed to full democracies cannot account for its electoral enthusiasm nor its robustness and endurance. This paper reverts to the plebiscitarian theory of democracy to address these issues. Combining monarchical power with universal suffrage created the political system of the Second Empire in France, and was later thoroughly theorized in Germany during the years of the Weimar Republic. Plebiscitary democracy produces direct democratic legitimacy for a strong leader while severely reducing the role of the masses under a drastic and rapid extension of suffrage. This paper identifies key principles as well as the main contradictions of plebiscitarian regimes. Additionally, it demonstrates that the plebiscitarian ideas proposed by Max Weber and Carl Schmitt have affected the minimalist definition of democracy espoused by Joseph Schumpeter, and therefore keeps enjoying a wide influence in political science. In identifying democracy with elections, the minimalist view promotes the electoralization of political regimes and favors the contemporary rise of plebiscitarianism. The paper considers present-day Russia as a radical case of plebiscitarian politics and traces some of its key developments. The Political Choice of Orthodox Believers in Russia: Strengths and Limitations of Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches to Research https://sociologica.hse.ru/en/2021-20-2/482206309.html Previous studies have shown that religiosity is a heterogeneous concept combining identities, practices, and beliefs. At the same time, most of these studies are based on a quantitative methodology. It allows a relationship between religiosity and the political choice of believers to be found, but imposes a limitation on the analysis. The quantitative methodology does not control the interactions of aspects of religiosity, and cannot explain the discovered relationships. This paper proposes an alternative research strategy, specifically, (1) the proposed model allows an analysis of the multiple influences of both religious and non-religious identities, practices and beliefs, and that (2) the qualitative data collected from in-depth interviews with believers complements previous research of the mechanisms of religious influence on political choice. A subjective assessment of one’s position and the actions of the authorities are the most important aspects to the voter (the role of beliefs). An assessment leads to a political choice when (1) a group-identity intensifies the significance of the political problem and poses questions for the individual, and (2) a set of norms and practices provides clues on how to solve a problem. An empirical test of the model was carried out in 2019 in three settlements in the Lipetsk region. The findings illustrate the sufficient potential of the chosen research strategy. The different political choice among respondents, who were expected to have the same political attitudes by quantitative indicators, are explained through the choice of motives and context. The Mechanism of the Production of Counter-finality in a Constitutive Order https://sociologica.hse.ru/en/2021-20-2/482206342.html The presented theory-oriented article describes the main elements of the counter-finality production mechanism in the constitutive order, and provides an empirical illustration. The counter-finality in Elster’s theory is an unintended consequence that generates collective action in order to overcome this contradiction and contribute to social change. However, this approach ignores the very process of producing counter-finality and does not correspond to the realities of everyday life. Focusing on everyday interactions allows to describe the counter-finality production process and to define this phenomenon in a different way. Firstly, the connection between counter-finality and the constitutive order is indicated: counter-finality occurs when the constitutive order is violated, but counter-finality creates conditions for the constitution of a new order. Then, a set of concepts is derived from the definition of counter-finality, its properties and examples, and from the description of the constitutive order conception: intentional action, lack of coordination, space, time, informational background, and sequence of actions. These concepts can be used to describe the process and conditions for counter-finality production in the constitutive order. In a specific empirical study, the case of a queue in a subway car, these concepts are elements of the production mechanism that influence each other and together create counter-finality. Secret Life versus Double Life: Modes of Clandestinity of Italian Terrorist Groups https://sociologica.hse.ru/en/2021-20-2/482206370.html This article presents two distinct modes of operating in a state of clandestinity adopted by Italian leftist terrorist groups, such as the Red Brigades and First Line, in the second half of the 20th century. The two modes of clandestine life are specified with the terms “invisibility” and “camouflage”. The invisibility mode of clandestinity imposes a regime of “secret life” on the group members, while the camouflage mode of clandestinity imposes a “double life” regime on them. The research aims to construct two simplified models, or, to use the Weberian terminology, two “ideal types”. Our primary sources are autobiographies published by former terrorists, official propaganda documents and pamphlets compiled by terrorist groups, and court rulings. Our secondary sources are journalist reports and research published by experts in political violence. From the theoretical point of view, the conclusion is, that for law enforcement, it is much more difficult to combat terrorist formations imposing the double life regime on their members rather than a secret life regime. Still, the double life regime is more stressful from a psychological point of view, as it requires an artificial split of personality. In the conclusions, the article expands the discussion to non-Italian terrorist organizations, with a different political or religious agenda. Time and Space in Tourism Studies https://sociologica.hse.ru/en/2021-20-2/482206409.html Two categories — geographical space and social time — allows for the description of any kind of tourist travels. However, although the category of space is usually explicitly present in tourism studies, social time often remains implicit. The authors start their text with the idea that the astronomical concept of time used in economic and geographical studies of tourism cannot explain the complexity of the mobile world. The concept of social time, the authors argue, meets this challenge. Scrutinizing themes of authenticity (starting from MacCannell), a rite of passage from everyday life to the leisure time of tourism (from Graburn), and mobilities and tourism-scape (from Urry), the authors aim to reveal how social time has been “sutured” onto the main areas of tourism studies. This review precedes and brings together a collection of empirical papers on such different forms of tourism in Eastern Russia as cross-border shopping tourism, professional fieldwork travel, and Chinese inbound-tourism. The authors conclude that the attention to social time allows for an understanding that the democratization of tourism is one of the most critical ways to construct a shared experience of living in the modern world, to synchronize multiple temporal worlds, as well as to manage what can be called a politically non-neutral diversity of temporality. (In)authentic Tourist Attractions: How Chinese Tourists Perceive Russian “Fakelore” https://sociologica.hse.ru/en/2021-20-2/482206750.html The study investigates the concept of authenticity empirically as constructed by Chinese tourists when they visit tourist attractions in Russia with distinct ethnic or local attributes. The corpus of tourists’ reviews has been examined, using a corpus-assisted methodology supported by Wmatrix. A linguistic level of authenticity representation appears to be only a source domain for the conceptual construction of authenticity. Chinese tourists reflect on outer ‘objective’ attributes of authenticity to construct an authenticity of another type. These mental constructs are organized based on the primary ontological and spatial experience. Semantic categories serve as a conceptual source domain that organizes a target domain. The findings show a Chinese tourist conceptualizes authenticity through the metaphors of primary experience, including time-space orientation — PLACE IS A FAR DISTANCE, PAST IS BACK, GOOD IS UP and an ontological metaphor — A TOURED OBJECT IS A CONTAINER. The content of a container is qualified and quantified through a conceptual metaphor of AUTHENTICATING IS LEARNING A CONTAINER. A container is qualified as THE SUPERNATURAL IS A MAGIC PERSON and quantified by a conceptual metaphor UNUSUAL IS LESS. Anthropologist and Tourist: Mobility of the Udehe Image in Ethnographic Space https://sociologica.hse.ru/en/2021-20-2/482206804.html The article tries to trace the formation, transformation, and deconstruction of the image of the author’s studied object. At the same time, it is proposed to consider the movement of the subject in the ethnographic space, that is, a temporal and geographically unified space that includes field research, presentations, conversations with colleagues, writing the text of an article, etc. The concept of imaginaries, which is central to the representation of the object, is considered in comparison with tourism practices, where the image is a central element, which gives a better understanding of the practices of both. It is argued that when deconstructing an image, the researcher’s position on the object and the ethnographic space change. The method of self-ethnography and mobility as a concept metaphor serve as tools for deconstructing the image. The main result of such a deconstruction is the ethical conclusions of the relationship of the subject to the object, as well as the performative effect of auto–ethnography. The author at the same time tries to find a solution to establish a reciprocity in relation to the object, as a kind of mandatory ethical action. One of the possible solutions seems to be the use of anthropological knowledge in the commodification of the object’s culture in its economic interests. On the Trail of Alexander von Humboldt in the Altai: A Mental Time Travel? https://sociologica.hse.ru/en/2021-20-2/482222591.html The article discusses “trail travel” as mental travel in time as well as the idea of a symbolic presentation of a material object and the material framing of social relations, which altogether produce tourism. In order to reveal the meaning of the material for “trail travel”, the author uses the three metaphors conventional for actor-network theory (space, networks, and flows) unconventionally. The author illuminates the meaning of space for time travel through “containerization”, that is, the allocation of a material object into which the traveler can “enter” and, in so doing, move through time. In other words, the container, in this case, is not the previously-criticized territory preserved for tourists, but the packed space-and-time. The metaphor of fluid allows the author to reveal how a tourist, looking at a material object (such as a geological exhibit), can observe the retroactivity of time explaining the space changes. Finally, the network metaphor allows the author to show that time is not a flow of irreversible sequences, but a way of representing space. In this way, the article weaves together space and time and shows, that in “trail travel”, time is space and space is time. The Economy of Qualities in a Cross-Border Market: Shopping Tourism as a Performative Practice https://sociologica.hse.ru/en/2021-20-2/482268078.html The article discusses the performativity of shopping tourism on the Russian-Chinese border using the terminology of M. Callon’s and his co-authors’ economy of qualities. The 2014 crisis has changed the parity of the ruble and the yuan, and has also changed the vector of cross-border tourism in the opposite direction. The authors show how observation of the residents of Blagoveshchensk regarding the purchases of Chinese tourists performs the perception of their social time and sends them “into the past”. They compared their everyday “here and now” knowledge with the knowledge accumulated during the operation of the cross-border local market. The usage of the language of the economy of qualities allows for the expansion of the boundaries of this concept for another type of market, that of the buyer’s market. We also ask about the dynamics of power in the wake of the assertion about the nature of market dynamics. The article consists of three main sections. The first section is a theoretical overview of the use of the concept of performativity in tourism research and the choice of the descriptive language for this empirical case. In the second section, we describe the “Chinese market” and trade practices before the 2014 crisis. The third section contains a reflection on the post-crisis changes and the processes of (re)qualification of goods and themselves. Empirical materials were gathered by the authors in the course of long-term studies in the twin-cities of Blagoveshchensk and Heikhe located on two banks of the Amur River, mainly through observation and interviews. Ordinary, Adequate, and Crazy: Reconsidering the “Pyramid” Metaphor for Mass-participation Sports https://sociologica.hse.ru/en/2021-20-2/482268131.html The article critically examines the “pyramid” metaphor for mass-participation sports. It focuses on the heterogeneity of intra-group structure and motives among adult amateurs participating in open races in running, triathlon, etc. The study is based on comparative participant observation at Russian and European mass-sports events and semi-formalized interviews. We describe the lifestyle and motives of non-elite athletes. Mostly they participate “for fit, for fun, for challenge, for socialization”, defined as key motives. Participation in races is essential for healthy lifestyle. However, the motive “for health” is peripheral. We noted a latent motive of “to win, to be ahead of others”. It reflects the very nature of sports, but creates a “loser's problem” subverting participation. We show how skill-level and a balance between key and latent motives constitute three strata among non-elite athletes. We define these strata as “Ordinary”, “Adequate” and “Crazy” and demonstrate how the motivation difference produces hidden controversies among them. Our theoretical interpretation is based on Norbert Elias’s concept of civilizing process and Konrad Lorenz’s comparative anthropology. We outline two normative sports models. For the Expressive model, the key motives “fit, fun, challenge, socialization” are socially approved, but for the Traditional-competitive or Top-achievements model, only the latent motive of “to win” looks legitimate. We believe that mass-participation sports emerged due to modern recognition of the Expressive model as a new social norm, while the Competitive model hinders its development. Rejecting the “pyramid” metaphor in sports, we propose an “iceberg” metaphor wherein these models coexist through different social roles. Combating Discrimination or Repoliticizing Sports? The Specifics of the Perception of Black Lives Matter in Sports-Fans Online Communities https://sociologica.hse.ru/en/2021-20-2/482268203.html This article is devoted to the study of the transformation of the processes of the politicization of sports. The authors show that the development of modern states naturally included sports in the system of power relations both at the domestic and foreign policy levels. At the beginning of the 21st century, a new form of this process was a kind of interpretation of racial discrimination, proposed in the framework of critical racial theory. The most striking embodiment of the ideology and practice of critical race theory was the BLM movement, whose actions were supported by a number of athletes and sports organizations causing a mixed reaction in the fan community. Based on both domestic and Western studies of the attitude of sports fans, we attempted to analyze the specifics of the perception of BLM actions of Russian fans in sports. The empirical basis of the study was the comments of fans on the forums of sports news agencies in 2020. The research hypothesis was based on the assumption that the study of online comments on the news about the participation or non-participation of Russian athletes in BLM events will reveal the unconscious attitudes and semantic framework for the perception of domestic sports fans of a new interpretation of the racial problem in sports. As a result of the analysis, there was a lack of unity in the assessment of BLM-shares in sports. Some fans support athletes in the fight against discrimination in sports, while some evaluate the actions of athletes negatively, and categorically do not accept their position. Here, on a mundane level, the illusory nature of BLM is recognized. The specifics of the social dimension of racism, which CRT insists on, are not understood by domestic fans; BLM actions appear to be an external phenomena in sports, primarily having a political dimension. Special attention should be paid to the pattern of Russia as a special space; because of the moral characteristics of the population and its specific mentality, discriminatory practices are historically generally uncharacteristic, and the fight against these discriminatory practices is irrelevant in the Russian fan community. Luck Egalitarianism: Two Lines of Critique https://sociologica.hse.ru/en/2021-20-2/482268265.html This article is devoted to the stream in political philosophy which came to be known as “luck egalitarianism”. Luck egalitarians are concerned with the questions of distributive justice; their main idea is that no person should be worse-off due to factors which they are unable to influence. Luck egalitarians express this idea via the dichotomy of brute and option luck. The goal of the article is to describe two main lines of critique which luck egalitarianism encounters, and to assess which one is the most dangerous for this movement. Some authors criticize luck egalitarianism from a moral standpoint. They believe that it is overly cruel towards those who suffer due to unfortunate but free choices, humiliating towards those whom it deems to be worthy of help, and that it contradicts our moral intuitions concerning the question of what do people who engage in socially necessary, yet risky professions, deserve. Another important problem for this trend of political thought has to do with metaphysical criticism. Luck egalitarians claim that a person is not responsible not only for the status of her family, her gender, ethnicity, etc., but also for her talents and abilities. The question arises; is there anything for what a person can be genuinely responsible for? Thus, luck egalitarianism encounters the problem of determinism and free will. This problem threatens the identity of luck egalitarianism: if free will does not exist or if it cannot be identified, then the key dichotomy of brute and option luck is meaningless. The article demonstrates that it is the criticism of the second kind which currently poses the greatest problem for luck egalitarianism. Sociology as a Science of Reality: A Logical Foundation for the System of Sociology https://sociologica.hse.ru/en/2021-20-2/482268302.html The Centre for Fundamental Sociology (HSE University, Moscow) and Vladimir Dal Publishing House (St. Petersburg) have initiated the Russian translation and publication of Sociology as a Science of Reality: A Logical Foundation for the System of Sociology (1930), a key work of the famous German philosopher and sociologist, Hans Freyer. In the early 1920s, Freyer, who became the first full professor of sociology in Germany, published several seminal works covering a wide range of topics in social science and political philosophy. The Introduction to the thinker’s first work on sociology in its proper meaning, published here, has the characteristics of a program manifesto outlining the basic principles for comprehending the discipline and its subject matter as a social and historical phenomenon. Freyer argues that sociology as a scholarly discipline emerges in a society that is being detached from the state; now, instead of an obvious and stable order, an insecure, precarious and unpredictable society arises, becoming a problem for itself. Consequently, alongside the formation of sociology, its object emerges; it is a heterogeneous “society” that has gained autonomy from the state while sharply divergent from that same society regarding the principles of the organization of social life. Meanwhile, the distinctive feature of European sociology is not simply its embeddedness in history, but its immediate substantial connection with the preceding philosophical tradition. This enables Freyer to raise the question of the philosophical basis of sociology as a scientific system. He also formulates the task of defining the forms of this system and outlining its primary lines. The structural and methodological comparison between the European sociology version and the American version of the discipline is particularly interesting from the perspective of the academic history. Philosophical Travelogy as a Cultural and Political Research Method https://sociologica.hse.ru/en/2021-20-2/482268354.html This article is devoted to new books written by Alexey Kara-Murza, a Russian philosopher and political scientist. Kara-Murza is the author of numerous works on the philosophy of Russian history and culture and Russian social thought, successfully working in the original genres of philosophical travelogy and philosophical local history. Russian-European and Russian-Italian cultural interactions have been the subject of Alexey Kara-Murza’s scientific interest for many years. The new monographs explore the political circumstances as well as the key biographical voyage plots to Italy of the outstanding Russian thinkers Pyotr Chaadaev (1824–1825), and Vladimir Solovyov (1876). According to Alexey Kara-Murza, these trips determined the intellectual identity of the two Russian authors as well as the spiritual and philosophical horizon of their work. Kara-Murza consistently develops a central thesis about the intellectual relationships between Europe and Russia. He interprets the dialogue of cultures as a story of creativity, and comprehends the journey as a special way of the philosophical reception of culture and creative self-identification. Kara-Murza’s cultural and political studies in his philosophical travelogy genre, as well as the method he developed which helped the philosopher reconstruct the intellectual experience of Russian thinkers in the context of the history of Russian and European culture, are critically analyzed in this article. “Before the Revolution”: Historiographic Revisionism and the Problem of Event https://sociologica.hse.ru/en/2021-20-2/482268392.html Book Review: Alexei Miller, Kirill Solovyev (eds.) Rossijskaja imperija mezhdu reformami i revoljucijami, 1906–1916 [The Russian Empire between Reforms and Revolutions, 1906–1916] (Moscow: Kvadriga, 2021) (in Russian). From Postmodernism to Post-Marxism https://sociologica.hse.ru/en/2021-20-2/482268431.html Book Review: Göran Therborn, Ot marksizma k postmarksizmu? [From Marxism to Post-Marxism?] (Moscow: HSE, 2021) (in Russian). How to Take Humanity Out of Comfort Zone https://sociologica.hse.ru/en/2021-20-2/482268472.html Book Review: Katerina Kolozova, Capitalism’s Holocaust of Animals: A Non-Marxist Critique of Capital, Philosophy and Patriarchy (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2020).