¹ 2, 2019
The article attempts to understand the phenomenon of commodification. Today, discussions on commodification usually reproduce the key points of the old, moralized debates about capitalism. Commodification is considered almost exclusively a derivative of capitalism that reached its highest triumph in the neoliberal era. This prevents an adequate understanding of this phenomenon. Commodification is much older than capitalism, therefore its moral aspects are much broader than the effects of capitalism on the sphere of morality and ethics.
The focus of discussions on commodification is largely determined by the widespread opinion that in a “normal” state of the society morality and market are isolated areas, and market destroys moral values. The article expresses and justifies the argument that there is no clear boundary between these areas, which opens up a possibility for significantly less univocal assessments of the historical and social role of commodification. The author demonstrates that in many cases the monetary value serves as a benchmark for the social value of a particular practice, emphasizes the universalizing and emancipating effect of commodification, and reveals the meaning of a reduction of free labor caused by commodification. According to his conclusion, it is commodification that contributes to the primary formation of universal (and simply human) values — in their commodity form.
In the final part of the article the author analyzes the relationship between commodification and neoliberal transformation of capitalism. Having documented the transformation of an individual into “human capital” over the recent years, the author interprets this trend as being indicative of the fact that today, for the first time in history, the “human” as it is, in its full, or almost full, volume, acquires a primary “economic” form of the universal value.
¹ 4, 2018
The article is devoted to studying the interrelationship between capitalism and culture along different dimensions. Are there any “ideal” cultures that are more conducive to the development of a “modern”, “economically efficient”, “progressive” i.e., ultimately, capitalist, society? To which extent can we justify the attempts within the concept of “culture matters” to reshape other cultures in accordance with this ideal type? To what degree is such measure relevant for Russia? The author’s analysis reveals that the ideal capitalist cultures have never existed. Capitalism in itself is a culture and even a religion. Because capitalism never states this directly, it seems that traditional religions one after another serve as voices of capitalism, replacing each other as expressions of the “spirit of capitalism”. History shows that capitalism evolves and accommodates new cultures and subcultures that are much farther away from what was once considered an ideal type for a successful capitalist culture. Since culture is the last resort of the expansion of capitalism, the latter is doomed to recognize over time all the existing cultures as successful. However, this will mean its “sunset”: once every culture will be recognized as successful, the recourse base of capitalism will be finally exhausted that would lead to the end of capitalism as a culture.
¹ 3, 2017
Does modern mass consciousness actually exist? To answer this question L. Fishman draws attention to a paradox in social studies. On the one hand, mass consciousness is known to stem from everyday routine, on the other hand, the studies of real mass consciousness tend to focus on its superficial manifestations determined by political ideologies, ephemeral states of mind, manipulative influence of the mass media, etc. Moreover, most popular socio-philosophical concepts describe Modernity as devoid of its own constants of being. Hence, it becomes impossible to single out modern mass consciousness, which succumbs to the association with pre-modern heritage. Fishman offers an alternative approach to studying modern mass consciousness as determined by lifestyle in technogenic environment and uses Russian and foreign realities to analyze some elements of this consciousness.
¹ 3, 2016
L.Fishman analyzes shifts in the ideology of the main political forces in the modern world, assuming that another “Great transformation” of the world capitalist system is taking place now, and it will inevitably demand a new format of ideological consensus. According to the author’s conclusion, this new format of ideological consensus will imply reaching an agreement on the most broad criteria of social subjectivity and receiving rent for “being socially important”, which is expressed in the participation in social activities (due to the impossibility to participate in the production of goods and services in its traditional interpretation). This might probably lead to the increasing influence of communitarianism (as an alternative to neo-liberalism), whose rhetoric is based on the appeal to the middle level values, with public good being at the top of the list. At the same time, public good can be easily interpreted with nationalist color, as a benefit for some local community, although it can also be interpreted in a more universal manner, which is consistent with leftist views.
¹ 3, 2015
This paper proposes an alternative approach to understanding the Victory Day as a holiday, the ideological component of which can not be reduced to either its officially declared side or to the side that is denounced by the opposition. According to L.Fishman, Victory Day is to a certain extent archetypal, and this “archetypality” is not limited to its opportunistic political-symbolic load. The real background of this holiday in the modern Russia is that it largely exposes the very nature of ideology. Therefore, it makes sense to analyze the role of the 9 May Holiday as a Victory in war in terms of the nature of ideology. Considering that it is “victory” that constitutes the key concept here, rather than the date tied to it, Fishman reveals the content that the ruling elites, although not always intentionally, embed into the celebration of Victory.
¹ 1, 2015
This article analyzes the term “rent” as a metaphor and a possible conceptual framework for studying the modern Western society. Contesting the validity of the argument that the capitalist system is based on overcoming rent-seeking behavior, L.Fishman and D.Davydov demonstrate that rent relations permeate modern capitalism to a greater extent than the preceding societal formations. According to their conclusion, capitalism as a society of material welfare maximizers through work and investment represents a fragile shell that hides old rental principles, and this shell can break at any moment exposing an unprecedented in history rent society that is developing inside this shell.
¹ 1, 2014
The article discusses the concept of ideology as false consciousness, the foundations of which were laid in the works by K.Marx, F.Engels, K.Mannheim, and A.Gramsci. It is shown that, being originally formulated in the interests of the proletariat, it objectively cleared the way for another class – the class of intellectuals (managers, experts) or even a “new ideocratic class”. Thus, this concept itself is consistent with Engels’ definition of ideology as a thinking process performed without understanding its true impelling motives, i.e. ideology as false consciousness. However, this concept de facto was a starting point for this new class’ gaining self-consciousness having paved the way for theories of demise of ideology, knowledge society, post-industrial society, and perhaps for many others.
¹ 2, 2013
The article considers the recent Russian talks about the need for the “spirituality” revival from the “social capital” conception viewpoint. It is shown that expatiations about spirituality constitute a self-delusion spurred by a desire to at least somehow regulate the process of industrial society disintegration and objective reality of the peripheral capitalism with its “raw authoritarianism” and “underdevelopment”. According to L.Fishman, the current situation is characterized by the destruction of opportunities to produce “social capital of the future” and objective impossibility to reproduce “social capital of the past” that would help to retain the remnants of the industrial society or to build capitalism at least similar to that in the first half of the 20th century.
¹ 2, 2012
In the article the author conducts comparative analysis of the substantial characteristics of principles ethics and virtue ethics and explains the reasons for the recently emerged tendency of shifting the emphasis on the latter. Tying the return to virtue ethics with the loss of “grand theories”, ideologies and utopias being capable of forming “the spirit of capitalism” that will be acceptable for people, at the same time criticizing the latter and justifying it L.Fishman views in it an attempt to find a substitute for those methods of reproducing social fabrics that earlier provided for the formation of the “big society” that is necessary for capitalism to function.
¹ 3, 2011
In the article the authors explore the ratio of capitalism and ethics. They demonstrate that the moral collapse connected to the emergence and development of the capitalist world-system was in reality a mere appearance of increasingly growing sphere that was dominated by the principles of capitalist moral at the axiological level. The authors suppose that the moral collapse manifested itself in the permanent failure of efforts to rationally underpin ethical norms rather than in the total defeat of any moral or at least altruistic one. Having examined in details different attempts of moral compensation for capitalism from early to late Modern Age, V.Martyanov and L.Fishman conclude that even the most successful tries led to only temporary effects.
¹ 2, 2010
Stating that ideological eclecticism has turned into the predominant type of political thinking, L.Fishman interprets it as the main moral-political challenge of our times. One still can imagine politics being loaded with moral content when adherents of rather consistent, monistic political theories compete for political power, but when there is no monism in politics at all, the latter loses its moral side as well. According to the author, if the eclectic nature of these or those political programs and ideologies adds to people’s irritation, it is due to their moral feeling that does not stand pantophagy of worldviews and under certain conditions can serve as a basis for constructing new moral-political rationality.
¹ 2, 2009
The article reviews the reasons for which a war is becoming one of the key archetypical prototypes used to comprehend the sphere of politics. L.Fishman looks for the sources of such phenomenon in social technologies revolution that was initially revealed in the military field. Armies of the New era were the first to run into a mass and, therefore, were the first to elaborate technologies to turn the mass into a community linked by common goals and values. At the same time, according to the author, what was needed in order that perception of politics as war gained a decisive meaning, was a unique concourse of historic circumstances: abundance of not just wars, but civil wars; necessity for political regimes to get legitimacy through the results of such wars, as well as participation in the political struggle of subjects analogous to armies (parties).
¹ 3, 2008
The article is devoted to the criticism of today’s popular alarmist moods with respect to the future of Russian political science. Arguing with the authors that draw a strict connection between the appearance and development of political science with the evolution of democracy, L.Fishman proves that political science appears not as a result of the establishment of democratic institutes, but following the entrance of masses into the arena of public politics. He believes that in modern conditions the “decline of democracy” does not mean the “sunset” of political science, because there remain power relations the study of which can inspire political scientists, and the multiplicity of paradigms that political science borrows from other disciplines always leaves a possibility to withdraw into those fields of study that do not pose a direct threat to the regime but at the same time serve as potential suppliers of concepts and methods for political science itself.
¹ 4, 2006
The article is devoted to a methodological and world-view criticism of the civilization paradigm in modern social science. The authors substantiate the thesis that the civilization paradigm is a politically correct and culture-centered analogue of biological theories of racism, where belonging of a person to this or that race is replaced by civilization identity. They substantiate the conclusion that popularity of civilization theories results from the reaction of social science to the crisis of universality of “liberal consensus” that is the basis of the capitalist world system. The authors defend the position that civilization paradigm is mythological and eclectic.
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