№ 1, 2018
In the article the authors utilize the term “Zomia” coined by Willem van Schendel, the Dutch researcher, to refer to a giant “mountainous country” located at the junction of a number of states in South-East Asia, in order to derive a concept, which reflects a specific form of social self-organization, a special type of everyday life that does not require the usual structures of the state of Modernity — it coexists with them and defends its right to be different. The authors study such form of self-organization using the example of the community of the resettled peasants that developed in the east of Russia in the second half of the 19th — early 20th centuries. Having analyzed the factors that led to the emergence of Zomia on the Amur, they come to the conclusion that the main factor was the big size of the territory, which killed any administrative efforts. The control over the giant territories with a relatively poor network of roads was too costly, which rendered it meaningless. The situation inevitably triggered the mechanism of social self-organization, which made the usual political forms superfluous and hostile to the people. They developed specific practices of distancing themselves from the state and using the latter in their own interests. The article describes these practices, as well as the resistance of the resettled peasants to the attempts made by the power structures to “domesticate” the disobedient territory thatincreased as the state strengthened. Although Zomia lost its fight against Leviathan, its defeat, as shown by the authors, was a mere transition to a different form of existence. Zomia continued to exist so that at a time when the Leviathan, exhausted by the vast void space, retreats, Zomia will appear out of nowhere and once again save the Far East.
№ 1, 2014
Despite all the differences in the political climate in Russia in the 2000s and in the 2010s there is an important overarching feature – almost maniac passion of state structures for introducing norms and regulations. At most various levels, from the local to the national, authorities seek the possible strongest control over all actors located on the territory under their jurisdiction. Focusing their attention on the ideological justification of this attitude by the governors and a response to such justification by the governed, the authors show how stable semantic complexes (myths), which guide the governors, manifest themselves when confronted with the governed reality. The clash between reality and mythology of political management is analyzed on the example of the Russian system of higher education.
Main Page ~ Authors ~ Bliakher Mikhail