¹ 3, 2018
The metaphor “salvation markets” can be to some extent useful for understanding behavior of those actors who operate at the intersection of sacral and political fields, guided by their own rational logic, for example, states. The weakening of their soteriological function in the last decades can be explained by the contraction of “salvation market” itself due to the reduction of the amount of human suffering. However, this contraction turned out to be only temporary. The restoration of demand for salvation forces states to re- define their strategies, oscillating between various versions of “civil religion”, “political religion”, radical laicism etc. At the same time, there is a toughening competition between states and other operators of salvation — other forms of political groups (Verbände), as well as traditional and non-traditional hierocratic groups (Verbände).
Hypothetically, the degree to which citizens are ready “to fight for their country” can serve as the evaluation criterion for states’ competitiveness on “salvation markets”. The hypothesis is supported by the fact that the category of thevictim, which is present in one way or another in almost any sacral discourses and symbolical complexes, penetrated both discourses and mechanisms of symbolization and legitimation of the modern state. However, there are no intuitively obvious confirmations of this hypothesis in the sociological data. Meanwhile, a deeper analysis might help to reveal the supporting evidence of the hypothesis. Alternatively, there are grounds to suggest that further course of events will undermine altogether the efficiency of the “market” metaphor in this context — and will call for a different metaphor. Most likely, it would be the metaphor of “war”.
¹ 2, 2016
Continuing with the series of articles devoted to the problematique of political form, this time S.Kaspe addresses the issue of democracy. The author believes that the emptiness of the center (in Shils’ interpretation of the term) should be considered a “stable core” of the essentially contested and therefore extensible concept (and the project), or its fundamental characteristic, which remains unchanged despite all external transformations: “No one... can imagine herself the sole spokesman for and translator of democratic values, the sole ruler and manager of democratic institutions, the sole prophet of democratic transcendence”. The roots of this normative statement are found in the field of political theology. The main (but not the only) means of its practical implementation are separation of powers and multi-party system. It is their combined effect that makes democracy although imperfect, but still rather effective way of protection against political evil.
¹ 3, 2015
Elaborating on the problematicsof the political form that the author started in the series of his previous research papers, S.Kaspe addresses the topic of an autonomous subject i.e., the one who produces and establishes this form. Revealing the internal contingency of both notions that are firmly entrenched in the language of political philosophy and political science, the author shows that the widely spread hopes in Russia for the autonomy of a subject as the best means of correcting political form are poorly justified. According to Kaspe’s opinion, non-autonomous subjects within the autonomous political is the state that the Russian society should aspire to.
¹ 2, 2015
The article by S.Kaspe represents another round of his polemic with M.Ilyin about the notion of political form unfolded on the pages of the journal Politeia. Responding to the criticism and suggestions made by Ilyin, the author a) protests against the broad interpretation of this concept insisting that it should be limited by spatial, primarily center-periphery, connotations; b) indicates the prospective and pragmatic orientation of his research, in contrast to more retrospective and theoretical studies by the opponent; c) considers that clarifying the relationship between the concepts of political form and political subjectivity is the most promising venue for further research in this field of knowledge. Who determines where the center is and draws borders? Who determines contours of the political form? And who is able to destroy them?
¹ 3, 2014
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.
¹ 4, 2012
What is political form? What is it as an analytical category and as a political thing that it represents? After raising this question and realizing that there is no explicit and operational definition of political form in the scientific literature, S.Kaspe offers his own definition: “the integrated composition of mutually complementary spatial metaphors of authority that under certain conditions of time and place for a certain polity (or ensemble of polities) plays the role that is simultaneously descriptive, ascriptive and prescriptive, constitutes that very form of the polity (or ensemble of polities)”. Such view allows him to make several nontrivial observations regarding the modern state of the Western political form and its prospects.
¹ 3, 2012
Alexander Abramovich Galkin, Patriarch of the Russian Political Science, Deputy Chair of the Editorial Board of the Journal Politeia, celebrated his 90th anniversary on the 24th of July. The material that is offered to the attention of the readers is composed in the form of the “homage” and presents the collection of texts written by friends, colleagues and students of Alexander Abramovich that tells us about the hero of an anniversary as well as his contribution to the development of the social science knowledge in our country and the emergence of the Russian political science community. The collection contains works by Boris Koval, Anatoly Chernyaev, Tatyana Alekseeva, Kirill Kholodkovsky, Sergey Mikhailov, Aleksey Shestopal, Oksana Gaman-Golutvina, Olga Zdravomyslova and Leonid Blyakher.
¹ 2, 2011
February, 18th, 2011 the founder of our journal Aleksei Mikhailovich Salmin would have turned 60. The seminar Politeia named after him held a special meeting Salmin: In Memoriam arranged to coincide with his Anniversary (supported by the Institute of Scientific Information for Social Sciences, Russian Academy of Science, the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation and the Public Political Studies Center). It was conducted in the traditional within the world science genre of homage: participants of the seminar delivered their reports that were related in this way or the other to Salmin’s scientific interests, elaborated on his ideas and hypotheses bringing them back into the active scientific vocabulary. In this issue we are publishing reports by Alexander Galkin, Yury Pivovarov, Boris Makarenko, Yury Senokosov, Tatyana Alekseeva, Svyatoslav Kaspe, and hegumen Philipp (Ryabykh).
¹ 1, 2011
The article points out significant methodological difficulties that modern social sciences face referring to the categories of the sacred and the charismatic. According to the author, the reason for such problems lies in the refusal to take into account transcendental dimension of the sacred, in the a priori belief that the latter is immanent in the social, in the treatment of the phenomenon of the charismatic solely as a type of symbolic capital, which contradicts the initial meaning of the terms and is hardly consistent with the sum of empirical observations on the cooperation between the sacred and the social (especially, the sacred and the political). S.Kaspe finds a solution to this paradox of «non-divine charisma» in Shils' sociology showing that its reanimation might provide a key towards understanding a lot of acute political challenges.
¹ 3, 2010
In his article prepared in the framework of the Institute for Theoretical and Historical Studies in the Humanities, Higher School of Economics, collective research project Status of a Document in Contemporary Culture: Theoretical Problems and Russian Social and Cultural Practices the author attempts to conceptualize the notion of a “political document”. The experts’ interviews revealing different aspects of how political documents are produced and how they function in the contemporary Russia allow to determine the main intention that defines their shape and content i.e. “densification of meaning”. Thereby, one can trace the higher referential authority in political documents that can be broadly defined as “the spirit of the state” (to follow Bourdieu, esprit de l’Etat) with their central function being more or less successful “adjuration” of this spirit.
¹ 4, 2009
In the second part of his study the author applies the theoretical generalizations on the role of values in the process of the development of political nation elaborated in the first part (see Politeia, 2009, ¹ 2) to the modern Russian realities. The author supposes that due to our political class disinclination towards subordination of the political action to the dictate of moral good and inability of most of the “political-cultural synthesis” potential subjects to actualize the corresponding potencies the Russian Orthodox Church comes to be the only possible autonomous counteragent (not the servile satellite) to the ruling group in creating the central value system of the Russian polity. The beginning of this process initiated by the Church might be followed by other public forces involvement since it fosters the formulation of their blurred subjectness. The key choice in the nation-building process will be determination of the value-motivated and inherently logical position towards the Soviet legacy with the Church again being the only one capable of such task.
¹ 2, 2009
The text by S.Kaspe is the first, theoretical part of a study on the role of values in the development of a political nation. The author believes that the description of ways to correlate the world of politics with the world of values given by classical structural functionalism remains unsurpassed in its precision and deserves reactualization. The author states such basic conditions for the operationalization of values in the context of nation-building as the dependence of political decisions on the fields of moral, sacral and universal, the inevitability of political actions described in the category of “choice” and “victim” even at the expense of losing some instrumental benefits; bringing institutes in accordance with values, non vice versa. Application of these provisions to our country’s current situation will be conducted in the second part of the article.
¹ 1, 2008
The article by S.Kaspe is a provocative text built on the analogy of the current position of the Commonwealth of Independent States and the situation in the early medieval Europe of about V–IX centuries. The basis for such defiant analogy is the qualification of both situations as post-imperial. Using the method and terms of Edward Shils, S.Kaspe demonstrates that the deficit of value legitimation is the general problem of political organisms that find themselves in such situations, whereas the search for an external center that could engender it – a general objective. The author considers the “Western empire” as the only realistic and at the same time acceptable candidate for such role and believes that Russia’s acquiring the status of one of its plenipotentiary sub-centers would be an optimistic scenario.
¹ 3, 2005
¹ 2, 2004
The analysis of electoral preferences is one of traditional and the most advanced directions of the political science. A number of principle approaches and applied techniques to the analysis of the electorate's behavior has turned from an experimental category into the area of research routine. At the same time looking-for such integrating parameters, which would allow appreciating to the maximum practicable extent and, if it is possible, just to assay the current state of political area and vectors of its evolution, has not been quitted. The article offers the handling to this task, which is bound up with the appliance of a new kind of one of such parameters - an index of polarization.
¹ 1, 2003
Empire in jeopardy: the end of debates on politics and culture.
According to the author the new alignment of forces in the system of international relations, which shaped by the beginning of the XXI-st century may be efficiently integrated into the imperial model. The world the way it exists now is the sphere of the might of the West, and first of all, its current nuclear the United States of America. All the events in the world become sort of the internal affairs of the global empire of the West. The current degree of globalization renders the serious potential of sustainability to this empire. The article highlights different problems of further global unification, in particular, the problems related to value potential and explicit Christian roots of Western civilization.
¹ 4, 2001
Center and Vertical: the Political Nature of Putin’s Presidency
Searching for the answer to the question «Who is Mr. Putin?» the author analyzes the mechanisms providing the second Russian president with the highest level of mass support. He comes to the conclusion that Mr. Putin’s political position standing beyond any party competition mostly fonned this vast political resource. Putin’s «center» has nothing to do with centrism in the party sense of the word. It is rather the focus of institutionalization similar to the one described by E.Shils and S.N.Eisenstadt. Such center by its very nature structures the political environment vertically. And this is the clue to interpreting the polysemantic image of «the vertical of power», the phenomenon so important for understanding the nature of Putin’s presidency. This political regime corresponds to many stereotypes traditional for Russian political system, and that is why inherent to it. At the same time it maintains evident democratic features, and that is why can be regarded as promoting the establishment of democratic practices in Russia (at the expense of their most serious adaptation and modification.) However, the final success of all that is not guaranteed, and only the future will allow judging about the possibility of such synthesis.
¹ 3, 2000
Dimensions of Liberty: Parliamentary Electoral Process in the Post-Soviet Space
The fourth series of articles published in the «Politeia» digest within the project of the Russian Public Policy Center Foundation «Dimensions of liberty: parliamentary electoral process in the post-soviet Russia» presents a multi-dimensional analysis of Russian political space according to the axis of socio-economic, political and cultural liberty. The short summary of the results of the studies of the mono-dimensional model structured according to the axis of socio-economic freedom is followed by the description of the tendencies revealed during the analysis of the two other dimensions of freedom, and a volumetric model of Russian political space is offered. The studies prove that the space remains structured by the theme of freedom. However, different aspects of freedom are not equally relevant. The parliamentary political process is determined, first, by the theme of socio-economic freedom, second, by the theme of political freedom, and the least of all, by the theme of cultural freedom. According to the authors, the current process of de-ideologization, though taking place on a restricted scale, means neither the de-politization of the society at large, nor of its political elite.
¹ 2, 2000
Administrative and Information Resources in the Context of the 1999 Elections
During the time-period preceding elections, political preferences of citizens are exposed to intensive influences, usually referred to as «administrative» and «information-related» resources. The authors make an attempt to demystify and specify these notions, including by numerical evaluation of their impact on the electoral process. The analysis undertaken by the authors shows that these factors are rather significant, especially the administrative resource. At the same time, the fact that in the Russian democracy, as in any other democracy, a whole broad range of forces seek to shape political preferences, using all available channels of influence, does not give grounds to talk about a «manipulatable» democracy: the efficiency of the efforts applied, both administrative and information-related, is far from 100%.
¹ 1, 2000
Proclaiming formally in 1990s the renunciation to the soviet model of state and the socialist values, the beginning of democratization, the ruling elites did not formulate the meaning of this process. The actual regime had no responses to the most of that challenges. The country wasn't stable in the political aspect. The legitimacy of this regime is very uncertain. It is still difficult to define what legal tradition the present regime inherited and whether it proceeded from the Russian empire, or the Soviet Union or the state formed in 1991. Russia didn't react to the challenges of the modernization and of the multipolar world. The actual key tasks should be the purposes determination and the restoration of the non-totalitarian statehood. The reinforcement of the civil society could lead to the broadening of the supreme power resources.
The sociological studies define the society preferences during the pre-election period and at the same time form these preferences. Thus the questions concerning the impact of the electoral sociology on the electoral process and the correlation of the studies data with the election results are of great actual importance. The conducted analysis shows us that during the Parliamentary campaign the Russian sociology as a whole has demonstrated the sufficient adequacy. The swings of the party ratings do correlate with the political changes and with the Presidential ratings; and some times vice versa, that is the strategies modification of the electoral subjects under the pressure of changes in the level of their population support.
¹ 4, 1999
In the article are shown the results of the first stage of the research carried out by the Analytical center of "RPPC", aimed at the studies of the impact of the institutionally normative design of the Russian electoral process on its results, the revelation of the main tendencies of the expression of will transformation and the formation of a multidimensional model of the Russian political space. The article is devoted to the analysis of the "voting machine" operation in 1993, 1995 and 1999 within one of the dimensions of this space: "state trusteeship" / "freedom on the market conditions" scales. The comparative analysis allows to the authors to make a number of nontrivial conclusions. In particular, the research has shown that owing to the coincidence of two processes - the "drying out of the marsh" and the approach of the potential of the lefts and the rights to somewhat average values - the political views which are not encompassed by the strict ideological cores constitute the right and the left center. Thus, contrary to the widespread opinion, the disideologization of the Russian policy is not followed by its depolitization.
¹ 3, 1998
The article analyses the imperial political tradition in the context of Russian modernization. The author shows that it is principally impossible to reanimate traditional empires in the modern world, but at the same time his thesis is that a partial use of the imperial political technologies can be functional. The imperial tradition can be monopolized by some champions of a radical nationalistic state program (though there can be substantial differences among them); this scenario pre-supposes short term functional benefits, but will aggravate the ethno-political situation on the post-imperial territory. At the same time the elements of the imperial tradition can be instrumental in case the intercivilizational conflicts scenario (S.Huntington) is implemented which is already the case in the modern world. The Russian politics has not yet defined its attitude to those perspectives, but there is no doubt it will have to do it.
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