Личные воспоминания о постсоветских университетах и архив профессорской идентичности
The article focuses on the limits of using oral history methods in the research of academic communities. The authors analyze the language and ways of self-description used by modern Russian academic community. The study is based on the interviews of Post-Soviet university professors, which helps to clarify what is the concept of tradition for them, what is the origin of their individual memories, and how these memories correspond to the collective perceptions of the ideal university.
The book describes the concepts of culture and language in the work of the austrian writer Franz Kafka.
In this paper the author argues that we can identify three types of intellectual communities that participate actively in the policy process: analytical communities, experts’ communities and communities of consultants. The distinguishing features of these communities are both an analytical tool and a manifestation of their different identities. These policy actors are distinguished from each other by several criteria: the focus of their political activity (policy analysis, expert reports / remarks or political advise / PR); referent groups (academic, professional or business communities); principles of interaction with decision makers (self-autonomy, contract, clientelism); ethical principles, civic values and attitudes. According to the author’s empirical research of analytical centers and communities in Moscow1 and Russian regions (Karelia, Tatarstan and Saratov region)2 we can make the conclusion that the identity of analytical communities can take three forms: analytical structures (think tanks, public policy centers etc.); “analytical spaces” (recurrent seminars, club meetings, forums etc.), informal intellectual groups. The empirical research that was conducted by the author and the Committee on Public Policy and Governance of the Russian Association for Political Science allows us to point out several factors that influence the identity of analytical communities and their capacity to be autonomous and powerful policy actors and to put these factors into hierarchical order according to their importance for development of analytical communities. The first group of factors is infrastructure for analytical communities; actors with strategic vision i.e. leaders that have organizational, communicational, project work capitals and skills in analytical communities; Human recourses and its mobility (“revolving door system”, academic and scientific traditions, quantity and quality of intellectuals and researchers, etc.). These three factors are vital and the most important for the emergence of analytical community’s identity. Another group of factors: the level of political competition and pluralism (political actors, their goals, diversity of strategies, the strength of political opposition etc.); institutionalization level of the political processes (efficiency of democratic institution and decision making procedures etc.); the capacity of analytical communities to build coalitions with other political actors and social groups (with interest groups, business associations, political parties, civil society organizations, local authorities). These three factors are vital and the most important for the development of analytical communities as influential and autonomous political actors. For Eastern European countries, where political competition and pluralism are not widespread and civil society institutions are week, the capacity of analytical communities to build coalitions with other political actors and social groups is the most promising strategy for democratic development. Additional factor to this group is inclusiveness and transparency of policy process. It correlates with capacity to build coalitions factor. Legal prerequisites (liberal NGO regulation etc.) and philanthropy recourses (from the development of philanthropic culture to the amount of philanthropists) are the cultural factors which depend on long-term features of the civilization or a group of states with similar historical paths. According to the theory of political science and policy practice, in political process we can identify two types of political activities. Activities of the first type are connected with state strategy and program implementation, decision making practices, political management, and problem-solving. The second type of activities are related to the analysis of challenges which decision makers face, with developing programs and strategies of addressing social, economic and political issues. The first type of activities or functions are delegated to politicians (decision makers, political elites etc.) the second ones are related to the work of the intellectuals (analysts, experts, consultants etc.). The demand for the intellectual support of policy implementation is high and even growing in modern diverse and dynamic societies. We can say that this function in contemporary political systems is carried out by intellectual communities.
The principle of communality is denoted in the paper as ability of originally and essentially communal socio-political norms and relations, worldview and consciousness, behavioral pattern, to spread on all the levels of societal complexity including, though in modified or sometimes even corrupted forms, sociologically supra- and non-communal. (The modern African city as a holistic phenomenon and in many concrete manifestations of its social life is a striking example of this). Thus, the nature and fundamental importance of the principle of communality follows from, but is by no means reduced to, the fact that the local community has always – from the earliest days of history to the present – remained the basic socio-economic institution and nucleus of political organization in Africa. The principle of communality is also irreducible to those of kinship (as in the most typical African community kin ties are compromised by those of other kinds) and collectivism (actually, one of the reasons for the “African socialism” projects’ failure was that their ideologists tended to ignore the dualistic nature of the community overemphasizing its collectivistic side and underestimating individualistic). As a pivotal socio-cultural foundation, the principle of communality has a direct impact on all subsystems of the African society at all the levels of its being throughout its whole history. Precisely this is what can explain to a large extent the originality of African civilization, as notwithstanding the immense changes, including those of the colonial and postcolonial eras, today the cultures of Africa still preserve their identity, what means that beyond the visible novelties, they are still based on the fundamentals characteristic of them since olden times. Hence, in the embodiment of the principle of communality it can make sense to seek the roots of specificity of the socio-political processes in postcolonial Africa, including the processes of nation- and state-building.