“All Power to the Imagination!”: A Leftist Critique of Bureaucratic Violence, Technologies and Rationality. Book Review on Graeber D. (2015) The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy. New York: Melville House.
In the preface to The Utopia of Rules, David Graeber states that his book does not attempt to build up a new theoretical approach to bureaucracy but it is rather an essay collection with a focus on three bureaucratic features: violence, technology and rationality. However, the cornerstone of bureaucracy seems to rest on the both unexpected and anticipated field of creativity and imagination, whether it comes to the work of government officials and origins of sovereignty, force fields and contemporary science development, or superheroes and comic book history. Graeber not only illustrates why our life has been organized around filling out forms (p.44), but gives it a bigger scale through an anthropological understanding of bureaucratic practices and technologies. The interesting thing is that he never gives a precise definition of what bureaucracy really is and where we can find it, but in the disenchanted modernity and modern capitalist economy it seems to be omnipresent. The book is divided into four thematic parts: the first is the structural violence and deliberate stupidity of bureaucratic institutions; the second questions scientific development and claims that we have moved from poetic to bureaucratic technologies; the third one is rationality and playfulness and their relation to human nature; and the last one (in an Appendix) considers the link between creativity and violence and the role of bureaucracy in it.
The nature of European imperialism during the "long nineteenth century" is still contested. Although the shadows of the old polemic framed by Schumpeter and Lenin's diametrically opposed positions are still occasionally cast upon the discussion, more recent appraisals of European imperialism have emphasized its relationship to both the consolidation of liberalism in Europe and attempts to globalize the economies and value systems of European nation states. Given this new line of inquiry, the exact relationship between the various forms of liberalism in Europe and the various imperial projects of Europe have yet to be scrutinized. Was there an overarching European project of liberal imperialism or were there overriding regional and national differences that differentiated the imperialism/s of the various European states? Did the contours of the domestic struggles between liberals and non-liberals (particularly conservatives and socialists) as well between different types of liberals leave a significant imprint on the expansionist policies of European states or was there a national consensus that eroded party lines on issues of foreign policy? What was the social composition of the supporters of empire in civil society? Is it possible to speak of a popular movement for empire? In this state-of-the-field anthology, leading scholars in the fields of European imperial history and intellectual history explore these questions and more, in order to thoroughly investigate the phenomenon of "liberal imperialism."
The main focus of this paper is the relation between the realisation of the right of the child to express his/her views and democracy in Russia. With this in view, I will study the interconnection between the right to express the views and the right to participate. Further, I will give an overview of the specifics of democracy in Russia, how they influence political participation, and what could be done to prevent the further infantilisation of citizens in Russia. Finally, I will explore traditional perceptions with regard to children’s participation in Russia and the legal framework and practice of the implementation of the child’s right to social and political participation.
In many organizations implementation of innovation is initiated by the management with application of so-cold “top-down” approach: strategic targets and key success factors with the initiatives of its achieving are formed and consolidated in different regulations, procedures, rules and instructions, which are brought to concrete employees later. The feedback from employees is occurred on the fact of initiative execution in form of corrective procedures locally, but the forming of innovation is still the top-management prerogative.
Such centric approach is mostly demotivating approach for initiative employees, who generate, implement and use innovation ideas. For this problem correction hybrid methods are used. The creation of special department inside the company is supposed to be done. It bears duties of innovation catalyst (usually R&D and HR departments have this role). Among other things this department is responsible for inspiration of average executive on development of innovation, determination and consolidation of corporate values and standards of behavior. In the end, the employees orientation on single corporate targets, the increase of corporate spirit would again “top-down” imposed and the department is just the retransmitter of values that are determined by the management.
How should the politics of relations between colleagues, clients and partners be naturally created and how to establish the awareness by the company employees of their personal responsibility and their personal role in corporate values realization, creation of innovation atmosphere inside the organization that does not resist the innovation? The approach, which is described in this article, supposes the forming of distributed network inside the organization with the transfer to it the general effort in the sphere of creating innovations and implementing the corporate ethics principals.
This publication is an continuation of the series of yearly Academic Papers, published since 2006, by the “Baltic Practice” interdisciplinary research Center, in a form of structured and edited collection of research papers of participants of the International HSE Summer School “Practice at the Baltic Sea” or simply “Baltic Practice”, submitted by the students of National Research University “Higher School of Economics”, as well undergraduate and graduate students from several European universities, complimented by the commentaries and research articles by research groups academic leaders and experts.
This book seeks to “re-think democracy.” Over the past years, there has been a tendency in the global policy community and, even more widely, in the world’s media, to focus on democracy as the “gold standard” by which all things political are measured. This book re-examines democracy in Russia and in the world more generally, as idea, desired ideal, and practice. A major issue for Russia is whether the modernization of Russia might not prosper better by Russia focusing directly on modernization and not worrying too much about democracy. This book explores a wide range of aspects of this important question. It discusses how the debate is conducted in Russia; outlines how Russians contrast their own experiences, unfavourably, with the experience of China, where reform and modernization have been pursued with great success, with no concern for democracy; and concludes by assessing how the debate in Russia is likely to be resolved.
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.