Reassembling the ambiguity of the sacred: A neglected inconsistency in readings of Durkheim
The ambiguity of the sacred combines two opposite modes, the pure and the impure, as its fundamental feature. Present in the work of Durkheim and most scholars of the sacred, as well as in actual social practice, the impure sacred is not the profane, the sphere that opposes the sacred. However, in most interpretations of Durkheim, and even in aspects of his own argument, the ambiguity of the sacred is neglected and, in several important cases, treated as if it were profane: this has negative consequences for cultural sociology and the study of culture in contemporary society. In certain cases, the impure sacred and the profane can be hard to tell apart. Yet, if the boundaries between the sacred (pure and impure) and the profane are not clearly distinguished, the overall approach to culture in terms of distinctions and boundaries loses its logical and theoretical coherence. This article elucidates the ambiguity of the sacred and reintegrates that ambiguity into cultural sociology. The model proposed here treats the impure as a transient result of violation of the sacred/profane border with no independent status of its own.
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The article was devoted the analysis adaptation strategies of the Roman Catholic and Russian Orthodox Churches to the new social and political conditions in the last decades. The author comes to the conclusion that Russian Orthodox Church chooses strategy of conservation to the new social and political conditions and Roman Catholic Church makes decision to follow democratic adaptation strategies.
In this chapter, I argue that the Durkheimian theory of the sacred is a crucial yet not fully recognized resource for cognitive sociology. It contains not only a theory of culture (which is acknowledged in contemporary sociology), but also a vision of culture-cognition relations. Thus, Durkheimian cultural sociology allows us to understand the crucial role the sacred/profane opposition plays in structuring culture, perception and thought. Based on a number of theories, I also show how another opposition – between the pure and impure modes of the sacred, allows us to explain dynamic features of the sacred and eventually provides a basic model of social change. While explicating this vision and resultant opportunities for sociological analysis I also criticize ‘cognition apart from culture’ approaches established within cognitive sociology. I argue, thus, that culture not only participates in cognition but is an intrinsic ingredient of the human mind. Culture is not a chaotic and fragmented set of elements, as some sociologists imply to a greater or lesser degree, but a system; and as such it is an inner environment for human thought and social action. This system, however, is governed not by formal logic, as some critics of the autonomy of culture presuppose, but by concrete configurations of emotionally-charged categories, created and re-created in social interactions.
The author addresses the question of the relationship between religious and national identity, in particular to those cases where there is their identifi cation. The author focuses on the Spanish experience of 1930-s, when formed the ideological construction of the so-called national-Catholicism was formed, justifying special spiritual mission of the nation, based on its alleged inherent rejection of democracy. Over the next few decades, the National Catholicism played the role of the offi cial ideology of the Franco regime. The article compares the Spanish experience with the situation in today's Russia, where, according to the author, there is a tendency for "nationalization" of religion, its politicization and indoctrination.
The processes of the growing societal complexity, emergence of new forms of social and political inequality, formation of pre-state or complex stateless polities belong to the most intriguing subjects of Anthropology and Social Philosophy.
Social Evolution & History has consistently published the research articles devoted to these issues. The chiefdom concept plays a special role within the theories that try to account for the transition from simple social systems to systems of greater complexity. Following its emergence in the 1950s this notion became an important heuristic means to advance Anthropology and Archaeology. It was also subjected to vigorous debates within which the participants denied the methodological significance of chiefdoms and the very notion of the chiefdom. These debates are becoming even more vigorous in connection with the rapid accumulation of information on ancient societies (see the dispute over chiefdoms between Timothy Pauketat and Robert Carneiro in 9.1). There is also much discrepancy in the definition of ‘chiefdom’ as some scholars consider it a standard phase of cultural evolution, a natural transition between the ‘Big Man’ society and the states of the ancient world.
Several approaches to the concept of fatherhood present in Western sociological tradition are analyzed and compared: biological determinism, social constructivism and biosocial theory. The problematics of fatherhood and men’s parental practices is marginalized in modern Russian social research devoted to family and this fact makes the traditional inequality in family relations, when the father’s role is considered secondary compared to that of mother, even stronger. However, in Western critical men’s studies several stages can be outlined: the development of “sex roles” paradigm (biological determinism), the emergence of the hegemonic masculinity concept, inter-disciplinary stage (biosocial theory). According to the approach of biological determinism, the role of a father is that of the patriarch, he continues the family line and serves as a model for his ascendants. Social constructivism looks into man’s functions in the family from the point of view of masculine pressure and establishing hegemony over a woman and children. Biosocial theory aims to unite the biological determinacy of fatherhood with social, cultural and personal context. It is shown that these approaches are directly connected with the level of the society development, marriage and family perceptions, the level of egality of gender order.
This article is talking about state management and cultural policy, their nature and content in term of the new tendency - development of postindustrial society. It mentioned here, that at the moment cultural policy is the base of regional political activity and that regions can get strong competitive advantage if they are able to implement cultural policy successfully. All these trends can produce elements of new economic development.