THE JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY
AND SOCIAL ANTHROPOLOGY

1998, volume I,
issue 1.


Abstracts

To Our Audience (Editor's Preface)

The mission of this new periodical 'Journal of Sociology and Social Anthropology' (JSSA) is regarded as an extension of the communication domain of Russian sociologists, anthropologists, philosophers, political scientists etc. JSSA is set up to resolve a range of problems:

- to establish domain of interdisciplinary discussions;

- to inform Russian readers of theoretical heritage, modern concepts and research patterns which are offered by international scientific community;

- to set a practical orientation of the social science through the discussion of topical problems of society;

- to foster more involvement of social sciences in shaping public opinion and playing a greater role in administrative decision making.

Interview with Prof. Dr. Asalchan Boronoev

Asalchan Boronoev, the dean of Faculty of Sociology of St. Petersburg State University answers questions of the JSSA editor Vladimir Kozlovski concerning his biography, scientific career, and problems of the sociology development of sociological thought in St. Petersburg and Russia.

Pitirim Sorokin's Heritage: Letters to Igor Golosenko

Presented are some of the last Pitirim Sorokin's letters written in 1967 - 1968. Apart from some personal topics, P. Sorokin touches upon issues of the status of sociological science in the Soviet Union and Russia and Soviet social scientists attitude to his theories.

Vladimir Kozlovski. Sociology's Gains and Losses

The article discusses the current situation in sociology. Despite multiparadigmality and methodological uncertainty, sociology through conceptial constructs shapes social reality. The author emphasizes four aspects of this paradox:

- sociology gains social status and institutional stability that legitimate its judgements, but it loses the original drive to search for solutions of existing social problems;

- multiparadigmality emancipates sociologists' imagination, but multiplication of metaphorical images results in the multiplication of meanings, while dilutes the general picture;

- by developing its national / regional sociological schools, sociology becomes a strong and worldwide discipline, but loses its unity falling into in relatively closed communities;

- centered on social structures and processes sociology loses an individual / human dimension, this domain being occupied by other disciplines - social psychology, cultural anthropology, and so on - but it gains from them a new anthropological perspective.

Rudolf Stichweh. Ambivalence, Indifference and Sociology of a Stranger

In its first part (I-II) the essay sketches a historical sociology of ambivalence which is interested in interrelations of ambivalence and the category of the stranger. In segmentary and stratified societies the stranger functions as the central category because he represents danger, innovations, alternatives and the possibility of filling status gaps. These are core dimensions of societal risk. Therefore, ambivalence seems to be the adequate attitude towards the stranger, because it offers options for temporary inclusion of the stranger and at the same time maintains the other side of binary valuations which justify the rapid rejection and exclusion of the stranger if need should arise. In the second part (III) ambivalence in modern societies is analyzed. Ambivalence no longer regards the formulation of the boundary of society. Instead, it becomes a self-evident part of the institutionalization of social structures and social roles, which is demonstrated by looking at classical social theories (Merton, Parsons, Luhmann). If ambivalence is no longer a special attitude relating to boundary phenomena, one should ask for a corresponding change in the modern attitudes towards the stranger as a boundary role. The last part (IV) tries to show that the stranger as the excluded other in a binary scheme is no longer constitutive for the experience of modernity. There arises a third status between classical alternatives such as kin/stranger and friend/enemy. Most persons in the world are transferred to this third status towards which our normal attitude is indifference. If this is our primary experience of them, they are no longer strangers.

Nikolai Skvortsov. Ethnicity, Race, and Mode of Production: Neo-Marxist Perspective

Neo-Marxist scholarship on race and ethnicity has made a valuable contribution to the knowledge of racial and ethnic relations. The article focuses on the influence of the Marxist paradigm on contemporary explorations of race and ethnicity. The first part of the article analyses classical neo-Marxist O. Cox's Caste, Class and Race and M. Reich's Racial Inequality. The second part looks at the role of the state in maintaining racial domination, the role of racism as a source of division within the working class, a phenomenon of the new cultural racism and racializing modern discourse.

Yuri Veselov. Economic Sociology of Postmodern

The main idea of this article is to reveal the relation of social and economic in the context of global socio-historical changes: from traditional to modern society and from modern to post-modern society. We treat modernisation as a process of social differentiation when the social sub-systems - economy, law, politics and religion, become separate. Under this process economy occupies the predominating position and becomes a self-sufficient system. Postmodernisation is the reverse process of de-differentiation when economies integrate into the social whole and merge with politics in the welfare-state system. Economy loses its dominating character, consumption takes over production, principles of value economy transform into use-value principles, a self-regulating market transforms into the regulated one. But postmodernisation is not a short-time stream, it would take a fairly long period of time to reconstruct the structure of society, and it goes along with the process of global modernisation taking place in the majority of developing countries.

Dmitri Ivanov. Postindustrialism and Virtualization of the Economy

The article analyses current changes in the economy of postmodern society and perspectives of Russia's economic development. The author's claim is the virtualization of society rather than the emergence of the information society.

While modernization is essentially a process of reification of society, postmodern age begins with the de-reification process: human essence is alienated into not social, but virtual reality, in which one deals not with things, but with simulations (images). The institutional order of society is simulated, but not removed, because it serves as some kind of virtual operating environment, which maintains the reality attributes and is open for enter / escape, and in which it is convenient to create and communicate images.

Postindustrial economy is virtualized: advertising images of consumer's values, not the real things, circulate through the postmodern market; virtual corporations - short-term alliances - simulate the large-scale corporations; credit system makes solvency to be a result of financial "trustworthiness" image rather than of the real means possession. Virtualization of commodity, work, organization, money provokes the use of computer technologies to be both means and an ethos of economic activities. Internet's virtual economy is on the increase.

Perspectives of successful economic development in Russia are linked with the virtualization tendencies rather than with its industrial growth. The primary and secondary sectors are considered to be an infrastructure of the virtual economic development, the political form of which has to be a Virtual Empire.

Alexander Duka. Political Discourse of the Opposition in Contemporary Russia

The article contains analysis of the results of the opposition political discourse research. The research object consists of newspaper texts representing two oppositional movements in Russia: communists and partisans of the state. Research approach based on discourse- and frame-analysis traditions. The author reconstructs the discourse and estimates the political mobilization potential of the movements.

Heinz Abels. Romantics, Phenomenological Sociology and Qualitative Social Research

There are three developmental lines in the history of modern qualitative research. One starts in the European Romantic Movement and leads over Dilthey to Weber and Simmel and ends in the Chicago School of Sociology and Mead. The phenomenology of Husserl and the phenomenological sociology of Schuetz characterize the second one. Thus qualitative research directs attention to the interpretations by which the actors construct reality. In the sixties a third line emerges, dealing with depth structures of action. Examples of social research showing the thin sheet of ice of normal action in everyday life are the crisis experiments from Garfinkel.

Nikolai Golovin. Teaching theoretical sociology at St. Petersburg State University

Historical, theoretical and methodological aspects of one integrated process of sociological cognition of society are studied in separate disciplines within the framework of basic sociological education. The subject of theoretical sociology is the logic of the theoretical process of learning about the society and the conclusions of this logic. Theoretical knowledge is divided into fundamental (general sociological) theories, theories of the middle level (special sociological theories), hypotheses and generalizations of the results of empirical research. Theoretical trends of the fundamental level are distinguished and systematized on the basis of their substantial connection with different ways of solving the most important philosophic, theoretically-cognitive and world view problems, which are formulated in the history of European social thinking. Thus gnoseological and didactic orientations for teaching the subject are worked out taking into consideration the situation in Russian sociology as well. The structure of the lecture course "Sociological Theory" for second year students is being published.

Alain Bihr, Roland Pfefferkorn. Men / Women: Identities on the Move

"The model of the nuclear family gradually set up in the 18th century in capitalistic societies. Having spread during the 19th and the first half of the 20th century among all social classes, it has been questioned during the last decades. A number of significant changes in the men-women relations seem to question the gender identities formed among them. Based on what happens in France, we will tell you of these changes through their contradictions to show how overthrew those identities but also how they were inclined to keep them, if not reinforce them. The suggested analysis manages to stress that precisely those gender identities, as they are imagined and formed nowadays, constitute the main barrier to restore the balance of the relation between men and women particularly in the family affairs."

Elena Kapustkina. Conference 'Theory and Practice of Social Development'

The conference took place 24 - 26.05.1997 at the Faculty of Sociology of St. Petersburg State University. Every conference day had one topic as a focus for general discussion:

1. Sociological theory of society development: basic concepts and current problems;

2. Interrelation of social, cultural, and economic developments;

3. Theoretical and practical problems of the social development management.

Key ideas of the discussion participants are presented.

In the conference framework a round table 'Social Progress and Future of Russia' was organized.

Vadim Semenkov, M. Rabjaeva. History of Russian Colonization

The review discusses the book of a Russian historian Matvey Lubavski 'Survey of the Russian Colonization history from Ancient Times to the Twentieth Century'. The authors differentiate in the Lubavski conception three investigation levels. The level of historical and geographical analysis of the Russian state territory development; level of social analysis of relation between social groups involved in the colonization process and state; level of juridical and political analysis of the practice of constituting colonized territories by the state. The 'Geographical' approach prevails in Lubavski's conception, but in spite of this somewhat one-sided approach, the book may be considered to be an encyclopedia of the Russian Empire development.


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