№ 2, 2022
The article is devoted to the analysis of a special political form that arises in the “empty space” on the “edge of the state”, where actors of power exist remotely, beyond the boundaries of the “emptiness”, but they can be materialized in it. The authors use the term “periphery of power” to describe this political form. The article shows that “empty space” is not a vacuum, but it does not contain what the observer (in this case, the authorities) expects to see, what he can read and comprehend as some kind of entity. It is the absence of the expected objects, actors and practices that makes the space “empty”.
The paper verifies the hypothesis that, being “empty” for an observer, such space is populated and has authorities. Empirically, the study is based on the results of two field works to the upper Lena River. The territory has neither settlement structure nor legal economic activity, and the number of registered residents is minimal. The nearest authorities (police, environmental protection, municipal authorities, etc.) are located on the borders of the territory, and the distance to the nearest large city (Irkutsk) is 500—700 km. Nevertheless, the field work there revealed a fairly large community with its own hierarchy, stable forms of communication, legalization and mobilization of remote authorities. For members of this community, staying in the “empty territory” makes no sense from the economic point of view. They are registered in other places (district centers or other regional cities, including capitals) and represent relatively successful citizens. However, the city remains for them nothing else but a source of resources (material, financial, etc.). They live exactly in the “empty space”. Social networks are formed in it, statuses and communication are built, which can be turned into the space of power.
The insights that the authors obtained give ground to assume that this process is not an outlier, but rather represented a more general process of separating a place to earn money and a place to live. According to their conclusion, while maintaining the current trends, the “exit space” documented by them will expand, forming more and more new forms of “emptiness”
№ 2, 2021
The article examines a specific situation that is emerging in Russia and is associated with the erosion of the state monopoly of the legitimate use of violence. With the example of a seemingly routine private event that looks like a single failure in the system, the authors show that it represents one of the most significant practices of power holders, the essence of which they define as “forced enforcement” and analyze its origins and possible implications.
In a gigantic country, the regions of which vary significantly in the level of their socio-economic development, enforcement of rules is associated with costs that exceed the amount of the resulting benefits. Therefore, the state limits its function as an enforcer to the control only over the key industries and does not encroach on the rest. However, under the contemporary conditions this tactic stops working. Since key industries are no longer able to meet the needs of the enlarged state, it begins to extend its control to the new social and economic spheres. The dramatic expansion of the area of application of the enforcement tools and complicated procedures associated with the need to control these tools themselves make them more and more costly. Thus, the task is to make them less costly, while maintaining, or even increasing, the volume of work. The very fact of intentionally setting such an insurmountable task makes the corresponding organs look for non-trivial solutions that are outside the state-imposed rules. Created as “enforcement machines”, they acquire their own mind and interests, and thus their own subjectivity. They no longer enforce the rules, but begin to form them, trying to shift the fulfillment of their functions to citizens and thereby pushing them to search for new enforcers that are not at all connected with the state.
Grigorichev K. V.
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