THE JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY
AND SOCIAL ANTHROPOLOGY

2000, volume III,
issue 3.


Abstracts

FIRST RUSSIAN SOCIOLOGICAL CONGRESS

Fedotova V. How is the Sociology Possible in Russia and other Nonwestern Countries?

This paper deals with the possibility of sociological knowledge in Russia and nonwestern world (Japan, Eastern Europe, Latin America, Africa, etc.). After differentiating the stages of sociology's historical development (following here M. Albrow) the author emphasizes the problem of incompatibility of western sociological knowledge and social reality of nonwestern world. How to reach the universality of social knowledge on the stage of globalization? The possible answer contains the strengthening of culture-centered approaches, the inclusion of this knowledge in transnational context, and the development of international sociology, the last being the most important.

Pokrovsky N. Inevitability of a Strange World: the Russia's Inclusion in the Global Community

Drawing on the sociological conception of globalization (especially on G. Ritzer's version of Americanization) the author analyses the Russia's inclusion in the global community. The process of inclusion is demonstrated in three fields of activity: higher education, tourism, and work. The author points to the “experimental” character of modern Russian culture which anticipates the global tendencies.

Lapin N. The Sociocultural Transformation of Russia: Liberalization versus Traditionalization

This paper presents the research carried out by author and his colleagues from Center for the study of sociocultural change (Institute of Philosophy, Moscow) since 1989. Drawing largely on classics (K. Marx, E. Durkheim, M. Weber, P. Sorokin, T. Parsons) the author proposed the principles of sociocultural approach and applied them in three surveys (1990, 1994, 1998) which made explicit the dynamics of transformation of Russian society at the end of XXth century. The main direction this transformation takes is from traditionalization toward liberalization.

HISTORY OF SOCIOLOGY AND SOCIAL ANTHROPOLOGY

Kozlovsky V. The Figurative Sociology of Norbert Elias

The article gives the biography of the well-known German sociologist Norbert Elias and outlines his sociological views. He uses the concept of “Figuration” to elaborate the general theory of sociology, the theory of civilization process and the symbol theory. Therefore his conseption might be called the figurative sociology.
The extensive bibliography on Elias work is presented.

Elias N. Sociology as a Relatively Autonomous Science

The translation of the fragment “Die Soziologie als relativ autonome Wissenschaft” from N. Elias book “Was ist Soziologie?”.

Elias N. The Concept of Figuration

The translation of the fragment “Der Begriff der Figuration” from N. Elias book “Was ist Soziologie?”.

THEORETICAL PROBLEMS OF SOCIOLOGY AND SOCIAL ANTHROPOLOGY

SOCIOLOGY OF CRITICISM AND JUSTIFICATION

Boltanski L., Thevenot L. The Sociology of Critical Capacity

This article argues that many situations in social life can be analyzed by their requirement for the justification of action. It is particular in situations of dispute that a need arises to explicate the grounds on which responsibility for errors is distributed and on which new agreement can be reached. Since a plurality of mutually incompatible modes of justification exists, disputes can be understood as disagreements either about whether the accepted rule of justification has not been violated or about which mode of justification to apply at all. The article develops a grammar of such modes of justification, called orders of worth (grandeur), and argues that the human capacity for criticism becomes visible in the daily occurrence of disputes over criteria for justification. At the same time, it is underlined that not all social situations can be interpreted with the help of such a sense of justice, which resides on a notion of equivalence. Regimes of love, of violence or of familiarity are systematically distinct from regimes of justification.

Thevenot L. Which Road to Follow? The Moral Complexity of an “Equipped” Humanity

This is a paper about a political and moral sociology. It is about the way persons are evaluated as moral or political agents, and the way things are caught up in such evaluations. Much of this article explores this question in an experimental mode — it is an experiment to see how it is that objects might participate in the moral world. The author limited himself to one kind of objects, roads, and explored variations in the ways these are engaged and evaluated. He considers how a road — a particular road in French Pyrenees — comes to take up political and moral attributes and participate in the construction of some common good or more limited evaluation. The article is also a contribution to a sociology of complex political and moral ordering. It makes the new link between the notion of “the good” and the notion of “the real” in terms of “engagement”. Engagement with the world is first the reality test which depends on the way the agent captures the world within a certain type of format (publicly conventionalized, functional, familiar, etc.). But this formatting of a reality depends on a form of evaluation which singles out what is relevant. This evaluation refers to some kind of good which might be a common good, or the fulfilment of a planned action, or an even more localized good governing accomodation with a familiar environment. This article explores the composition between different moral orders and more local modes of evaluation as these are embodied in objects acknowledged within different regimes of pragmatic engagements with the world. This in turn leads to new insights into different models of activity: a kind of social action which is more collective than others in so far as it is prepared for public critique and justification, an individual and planned action as asociated with intentional agents and a functional capture of the world, a familiar engagement as non-reflexive activity guided by embodied atunement with a domesticated and proximate environment.

Wagner P. After “Justification”: Repertoires of Evaluation and the Sociology of Modernity

The article presents the moral and political sociology developed by the research group around Luc Boltanski and Laurent Thevenot from its gradual dissociation from the tradition of critical sociology during the 1980s to the present. Taking the major presentation of this approach, “De la justification”, as the point of departure, the key items of criticism to which this book was exposed are discussed, both in terms of their intellectual merit and in light of the ongoing debates in French social and political theory. The work of this group was often rather erroneously taken to have provided both a new theory of society and a new normative political philosophy. What it aimed at achieving in the first place, in contrast, was a questioning of the assumptions on which reasonings in social theory and political philosophy are based and how these reasonings relate to social actors' own engagement with the world. Not least in response to the criticism received, however, the approach has been further elaborated in recent years, and it works now towards a new representation of the contemporary state of social relations and towards a comprehensive analysis of the practical political philosophies employed in political disputes.

RESEARCH

Golosenko I. Social Identification of the Officials in Russia in the Beginning of the XXth Century: a Sociological Essay

The article investigates the role played by the journal “Sputnik Chinovnika” (1911 — 1917) in the process of officials' self-identification in Russia in the beginning of the XXth century. The journal had been carrying the sociological surveys of officials for several years and prepared the propositions for the III State Duma where the reform of administration had been planned.

Finer B. The Choice of Childrens' Names in Ethnically Mixed and Non-mixed Families in Leningrad

Many difficulties arise when trying to measure differences between sets of names chosen for children among different ethnic groups. I propose my own measurement technique which is based on calculation of sum of the normalized differences between two compared sets of names. After an analysis of sets among names of children from marriages within and among the largest ethnic groups in Leningrad, it is found that there are regular patterns in how names are bestowed and in changes of naming practices over time. The general conclusion of the paper is that cultural assimilation or acculturation has progressed significantly in Leningrad / St.Petersburg.

Popkov V. Russian Emigrants in Berlin: the Characteristics of Adaptation (1990s)

The article focus on the problems of Russian emigrants' adaptation in Berlin (1990s) and their perception by majority. The research based on interviews showed that the adaptation of Russians in West and East Berlin takes the different paths but both groups are characterized by the low level of relative deprivation and the high level of conflict sensibility in relation to German population. Nevertheless the contacts are more intensive and the adaptation is easier in East Berlin.

ESSAY

Semenkov V., Damberg S. The Provincial City Saint-Petersburg: the Symbolic Capital in the World of Art

The essay considers the problem of the public space in Saint-Petersburg which is supposed to be semi-provincial. One of the most reliable criteria of the provinciality from the authors' point of view is the shortage of artists' symbolic capital. This is one of the main characteristics of the public space in this city. The shortage is partly based on the absence of actors' regional identity.

NEWS / INFORMATION

Bagajeva A., Rezaev A. International Center of Comparative and Institutional Research (Faculty of Sociology, St.-Petersburg State University)

The Intercomcenter was created in December 1999 on the Faculty of Sociology of St.-Petersburg State University. Its first seminar “Perspectives for Comparative Research” (15 May 2000) studied the possibilities of comparative research of Russia and Japan. The main contribution was from the part of Prof. S. Hakamada (University Aoyama Gakuin, Japan), Prof. I. Veselov (St.-Petersburg State University) and Prof. P. Smirnov (St.-Petersburg State University).

Vvedenskaja E., Kusch S. Center of Management and Institutional Research (Faculty of Management, St.-Petersburg State University)

The Center of Management and Institutional Research was created in March 2000 on the Faculty of Management of St.-Petersburg State University with the cooperation of Management, Innovation and Organization Institute of Haas Business School (University of California, Berkeley). 25 April 2000 was held the first meeting of the seminar “Neoinstitutionalism: Problems and Perspectives of Interdisciplinary Research”. Among the contributors were the Dean of Faculty'of Management V. Katkalo, Prof. L. Shirokorad (Economic Faculty, St.-Petersburg State University), Prof. I. Veselov (Faculty of Sociology, St.-Petersburg State Unversity).

REVIEW

Rodchenko K. Review of the Book “West or Humanity?”

Reviewed is the book “West or Humanity? The historiosophy of the Balkan Conflict”.


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