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Article

Дискурсивные основания политического участия в России

The paper explores symbolic determinants of the political passivity commonly attributed to the majority of Russians. In spite of the high level of the discontent, the majority of Russians does not participate in formal mechanisms of public activity. These discontent citizens do not join political parties or civic organizations and do not even vote for opposition parties. The empirical base of the research is in-depth interviews with a sample of discontents.  I define the sample according to attributes identified by the Levada Center in their national research:  low levels of social trust, high level of paternalism, and low level of income.  I argue that combination of these features generates a particular interpretation of political reality rooted in three discursive limitations of the political participation:  the devaluation of the other, which prevents collective actions; an overlapping understanding of state and public, which undermines any types of public activity and a misunderstanding of democracy (democracy is an empty signifier in terms of Laclau).