Abstracts 3, 2014

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Political Theory

Svyatoslav Kaspe

Defining Political Evil

Keywords: political evil, radical evil, structural evil, political violence, symbolic power

Criticizing and for the most part rejecting the most common approaches to the connection between the problem of evil and the problem of political in the modern political thought, S.Kaspe is looking for a way to build an operational definition of political evil in a narrow and strict sense. The starting point of his argument is the following: the essence of political evil can be understood from the perspective of a notion of political rather than the concept of evil per se (which should be viewed as an independent variable). Transfiguration of the usual, human evil into political evil (i.e., systemic, structural) is possible due to the deficit of efficiency of political institutions that normally prevent such transformation as well as their hyper-efficiency that transcends the norm in the other direction. In their turn, both of these institutional dysfunctions are generated, according to the author, first and foremost by the attempts to ignore or consciously eliminate ethical criteria that distinguish between good and evil. As a result, ethics is replaced by the very same politics.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2014-74-3-6-29


Boris Sokolov

Individual Rationality and Collective Norms On Problem of Legitimization of Moral and Political Theories

Keywords: legitimization, contractarianism, political philosophy, problem of normativity

The paper investigates the problem of practical justification of legitimacy of normative concepts. Having discussed three main approaches to solving this problem, B.Sokolov concludes that the most effective one is an approach that appeals to the idea of the treaty among rational individuals about the rules of social coexistence because it aims at achieving congruence of individual interests and of tenets of normative theory, and requires neither use of violence nor introduction of transcendental and unverifiable entities to support claims for normative importance. The main advantage of contract theories is that they provide the minimal possible justification for moral systems and elaborate arguments for why a person who doubts a necessity to follow moral norms (or state laws) could agree with the requirements of this or the other ethical concept.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2014-74-3-30-44


Dmitry Davydov

Social Capital Theory and Its Normative Controversies

Keywords:  individualization, capitalism, public goods, social capital

The article analyzes normative aspects of social capital theory that problematizes the process of individualization i.e., decrease in coherence and destruction of social values in the modern society. Recognizing that the arguments of proponents of this theory are based on the results of the empirical studies corroborating that social connectedness and trust contribute to sustainable economic development, D.Davydov, however, focuses his attention on the ambiguity of this approach. From his point of view, advocates of social capital theory distort the inner essence of social phenomena when treating them as economic resources and subject of investments. The author posits that such logic fuels the process of individualization rather than fights it. According to the author, in a society where altruism is taken over by selfishness and thrift, and social coherence – by indifference to public good, appealing to profits only reinforces such tendencies.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2014-74-3-45-56

Russian Polity

Andrei Okara

Fourth Power Between Society and State Political Journalists as Part of Political Class of Modern Russia (I)

Keywords: political journalism, political class, new media, journalistic genres, information-psychological war

In this article A.Okara attempts to comprehend the role of political journalism in the social life of modern Russia. The first part of the article published in this issue is devoted to the analysis of the status of political journalists in the structure of the political class, the structure of the community of political journalists per se, as well as their genuine influence on the character of political decisions. Having fixed duality of the professional nature of political journalism and status of political journalists, the author shows that under the current circumstances in Russia journalists are both “servants” of the authorities who articulate those interpretations of the events that were ordered on a paid basis, and “demiurges” – creators of meanings and pictures of reality that are able to control consciousness and actions not only of mass audience, but also of politicians who order them.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2014-74-3-57-74


Yury Korgunyuk

Regional Map of Electoral Cleavages At 2011 State Duma Elections

Keywords: post-Soviet Russia, electoral cleavages, political cleavages, cluster analysis

Structure of electoral cleavages is an important indicator of the socio-political state of society. However, studying this topic at the level of a country at large is fraught with serious mistakes: if elections are fair in some places and merely imitative in others, the overall picture may be akin to the average temperature in the hospital. To solve this problem, Yu.Korgunyuk turns to the analysis of data at the level of territorial electoral commissions employing his own methodology. His research results in a type of regional map of electoral cleavages that allows to understand in which regions of the Russian Federation electoral life is still lingering on, and in which its demise has become irreversible.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2014-74-3-75-91

Russian Regions

Leonid Bliakher

Great History and Slow Existence at Civilization Frontiers Case of Amur River Region

Keywords: frontier, the Amur River Region, the Far East, imposed order, great history, discourse

This article is devoted to the analysis of one of the patterns associated with the nature of and perception of the processes occurring in the post-Soviet Russia, which finds its expression in the contradiction between an incredible speed of change in political forms, business rules of the game etc., and a feeling of going around in a circle. Empirically, the author supports his arguments with the narrative on comprehension and permanent “exploration” of the Amur River Region as a historically emergent part of the Far East. The choice of this region is justified by the fact that a special type of discourse has been established in relation to this frontier, the essence of which can be rather adequately conveyed by the term “empty space”, and “emptiness”, especially when encased within the political boundaries, inevitably engenders a desire to “explore” it. Trying to understand reasons for failure of all such “exploration” projects, L.Blyakher reveals a number of interesting trends inherent, albeit in a blurred form, in Russia as a whole.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2014-74-3-92-109


Anatoly Savchenko

Russian Province: From PERESTROIKA To

Keywords:  social transformation, modernization, perestroika, small towns, periphery

On the basis of the sociological material collected during two expeditions to the southern cities of the Far East, the author investigates the current state of the Russian province in the light of the transformations initiated by perestroika. The analysis conducted by A.Savchenko shows that one of the main trends in the Russian province is spatial fragmentation. In small towns, as opposed to large ones, transition processes have not been completed. At the same time, these processes can hardly be called controlled; rather, they result from adaptation to the destruction of the Soviet economic and social structures. The scope of this destruction leaves the province with little chance to overcome decline on its own.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2014-74-3-110-125

Paradigms of Social Development

Marina Kukartseva, Irina Kolosova

Religion and Limits of Secular Society

Keywords: secular, sacred, secularization, postsecularism, religion, constitutional state

The article examines the concepts of secularization and secularism, relation between secular and religious in the modern world as well as the status and role of religion in a constitutional secular state and globalized multicultural society. The authors conclude that although nowadays religion seems to be able to claim only the role of a local regulator of social relations with a limited area of impact, in reality it does not give up efforts to expand its influence. Remaining one of the most important phenomena, it gradually strengthens its positions with the aim of delineating and, whenever possible, narrowing boundaries of a secular component of social life.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2014-74-3-126-133


Kirill Zhirkov

Anti-Americanism as Ressentiment and Political Position: Search for Universal Patterns

Keywords: anti-Americanism, ressentiment, socio-economic development, culture, world politics

The article investigates causes and nature of anti-Americanism in the modern world. On the basis of factor and regression analysis of data from 45 countries K.Zhirkov reveals important differences between cultural and political anti-Americanism, with the former implying negative attitude toward the American culture and its global spread, and the latter – rejection of certain aspects of the US foreign policy. According to the results of the analysis, cultural anti-Americanism is typical for countries with the average level of modernization, while political – for the most developed countries. The analysis also demonstrates that anti-American sentiments are most widely spread in Muslim countries. Overall, the results of the analysis show that anti-Americanism is subject to cross-national patterns and should be studied in a comparative perspective.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2014-74-3-134-148

Historical Retrospective: Reflections and Hypotheses

Andrey Medushevsky

1977 Basic Law of USSR: State and Individual in Epoch of Developed Socialism

Keywords: Constitution of the USSR, human rights, federalism, “socialist democracy”

On the basis of the detailed analysis of the process of elaboration and adoption of 1977 Constitution of the USSR, A.Medushevsky reveals special features of the Soviet pseudo-constitutionalism. Having thoroughly considered debates around the most important provisions of the new Basic Law that were designed to answer the key challenges facing the country as a result of the internal transformations as well as changes occurring in the global arena, and their reflection in the content of the final document, he convincingly demonstrates that the formula for the leading role of the Communist Party was the only norm in the Soviet Constitution that actually worked (corresponded to political reality). According to his conclusion, the failure of the political system of the late USSR to implement fully-fledged and timely constitutional modernization is a lesson and a warning for the post-Soviet political elite.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2014-74-3-149-168

Practical Sociology

Dmitry Rogozin, Nadezhda Galieva

Methodical (in)stability of Mass Survey

Keywords: mass survey, methodology of social surveys, standardized interview, fabrication of data, survey ethnography

The article presents the results of an ethnographic post-observation of conducting standardized personal interviews on route sample. The authors reveal an enormous discrepancy between the reports provided by an interviewer and reviewed by the leading Russian survey company, and the realities of the post-survey situation. Almost none of the respondents were identified. Moreover, some apartments and houses were simply imputed out of nowhere. Any factual references to route sheets and questionnaires completed by an interviewer were absent. On the basis of replicating an interviewer’s route, D.Rogozin and N.Galieva hypothesize about the insolvency of survey technology based on the manipulation of the collected data that are not correlated with the realities of the conducted survey.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2014-74-3-169-180


Gubernatorial Readings

Finances of Modern Russia: Risk Factors, Sustainability Resources, Development Prospects Seventeenth Gubernatorial Readings. Tyumen, June 10th, 2014

Keywords:  financial institutions, banking system, credit policy, economic growth, Tyumen region

The material published here is a report on the Seventeenth Gubernatorial Readings held in Tyumen, June 10th, 2014, under the framework of the joint project conducted by the journal Politeia and the administration of Tyumen region with the topic of the Readings being financial and economic situation in the country and ways of its recovery, and a lecturer – G.A.Tosunyan, President of the Association of Russian Banks, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2014-74-3-181-199