¹ 2, 2019
The Russian translation of Umberto Eco’s “Superman for Masses” was published in 2018, but the essays included in the book were written long before that — in 1965—1976. This is in fact what makes these essays interesting, because they reflect the ideological and political “foundation” of the author’s specific theoretical constructs, thereby allowing us to look from the today’s point of view at the precursors of the future theory contained in those constructs.
The theoretical framework of the reviewed volume refers to the time period preceding 1968 — this is about the division of culture into “high” and “low”, which is still relevant, and the idea of the liberating potential of culture as it is and the “revolutionary nature” of any genuine art work. In this regard, the interpretation of the “populist novel” looks unambiguous i.e., essays that represent “reformist” and, therefore, “conservative” vision. One can equate “reform” and “conservatism” since any “reform” implies preservation of social order: not only does it refuse to question social order, but also it reinforces social order through repetition. Nevertheless, the analysis in Eco’s logic of the peculiarities of “Secrets of Paris”, the most influential “populist novel”, demonstrates that essays of this kind possess a different potential — an ability to introduce a problem that would be unacceptable for readers in any other format. As a result, the “populist novel” and “mass literature” turn out to be areas that not only establish the existing order, but also introduce fundamentally new elements, relaxing resistance of the audience through the redundancy effect, presenting new ideas along with the familiar ones.
¹ 4, 2017
Constitutionalist Interpretation Of Russian Revolution History (Medushevsky A.N. Political History of the Russian Revolution: Norms, Institutions, Forms of Social Mobilization in the 20th Century. — Moscow, St. Petersburg: Center for Humanitarian Initiatives, 2017)
In this article A.Teslya analyzes a new monograph written by Andrey Medushevsky, a recognized expert in the field of the sociology of law, political history and the history of the Russian political, primarily constitutional, thought of the second half of the 19th — 20th centuries. The author comes to the conclusion that the book is both culminating — with respect to numerous works devoted to the Russian constitutionalists and various aspects of the Russian modern political history — and fresh, offering new research lenses indi- cated in its title — holistic political Russian history with the history of the Russian constitutionalism as its heart.
¹ 3, 2017
Inconceivable Object. Pierre Bourdieu on Production of Monopoly on the Official and Universal (Bourdieu P. On the State: Lectures at the Coll ge de France (1989—1992) / Ed. by P.Champagne, R.Lenoir, F.Pupo, M.-K.Rivier; translated from French by D.Kralechkin and P.Kushnareva; foreword by A.Bikbov. — M.: Publishing House “Delo”, RANEPA, 2016)
Although P.Bourdieu’s course of lectures on the state (published in Russian in 2016) first appeared a quarter of a century ago, it is still interesting today and not solely as a monument to the social and theoretical thought. A.Teslya believes that from the contemporary perspective the main question to this work is about the state’s loss of monopoly on the universal that has become obvious over the past decades. According to Bourdieu’s logic, the state, while remaining the main creator of the official, is now increasingly losing its status of the universal. In other words, its role as a source of legitimate violence is no longer indisputable. The state is less able to act as a field of fields and represents only one of the fields among others. This raises the problem of the production of order, because the possibility for different groups to obtain benefits from what Bourdieu calls “logical and moral integration” is determined by the order itself being a common good.
¹ 3, 2016
Over the past decade and a half, Carl Schmitt has become firmly established in the domestic intellectual space. Now everyone, who at least somehow comes in touch with the sphere of political theory and philosophy, is familiar, if not with the main provisions of the concept, then at least with the definition of the political as a distinction between “friend” and “enemy”. Realizing that it hardly makes sense to review the texts, which not only were published 80–90 years ago, but also became classic in the past decades and produced a diverse literature, A.Teslya sets for himself a fundamentally different task – to identify a number of possible useful turns of discussion out of those turns, which may be relevant in the context of domestic political thought, but have not been sufficiently articulated yet.
¹ 1, 2014
On the basis of the analysis of the “Addresses to the German Nation” and the context of their appearance, A.Teslya concludes that the starting point for explaining Fichte’s nationalist doctrine should be the situation of philosophizing rather than the internal logic of the idea. Fichte’s study of law and morality gave birth to the doctrine of the nation that ideally should have been identical to the people, which implied excluding from the people those who are not able to enter it. It is the impossibility to form such nation by purely political means that led to the need for establishing a non-political ground, “nation in formation” as cultural affinity. Teslya views the resulting national-democratic doctrine as revolutionary and emphasizes that its implementation in reality assumed a radical change in the order of things, a certain religious overthrow, where the “German nation” appeared as the “Chosen People”.
¹ 4, 2013
Expressing high opinion of the reviewed work, A.Teslya draws attention to the fact that the author does not claim authentic reflection of M.Foucault’s thoughts, and his goal is to convey his own understanding of Foucault, where a man and a thought are inseparable and at the same time are laid out from the personal perspective – the perspective of something that is conformable to the author, that is perceived by him as important or, on the contrary, causes his rejection. According to the reviewer’s conclusion, P.Veyne managed to preserve a perfect balance between memoir fragments and interpretation of the philosopher’s key attitudes, paint a friend’s portrait, whose image, as it was seen with the author’s own eyes, was clarified by reading texts that were unavailable during Foucault’s lifetime or appeared to be out of sight at that moment.
¹ 1, 2013
In the article the author considers transformation of Slavophils’ socio-political views in the works by I.Aksakov on the basis of the broad range of sources including the archive materials that have been never published before. After analyzing political implications of Aksakov's abandoning binary opposition of “state” and “the people”, “the people” and “the public”, A.Teslya shows that Aksakov created a rather consistent conception of “non-political liberalism” and that he was able to permanently point out its “non-political character” only due to the extremely narrowed interpretation of the notion “political”, thereby providing space for political society to be established as a space of formed public opinion.
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