“Adult” as a Concept for Young People Building their Life Course
The structure of Russians' life course has never been studied in depth; the only exception is demographic studies regarding marital status and age at childbirth. Principles that define life trajectories should also be examined. The “adult” concept is one of a number of important concepts in the general structure of life planning. This article presents an agenda for future research based on several case studies obtained during a longitudinal study of educational and occupational trajectories. Studying the transition into adulthood is an important resource for understanding the modern times. However, another option is also possible. This concept of transition into adulthood can also be considered as a phenomenon of contemporary culture. The research perspective of cultural sociology, whose methodology is described as structural hermeneutics, can serve these purposes. Structural hermeneutics refers to an analysis of the structure of senses both intersubjective and collectively shared. It is important to analyze how the adult concept is used with regard to the structure of the life course in materials from Russian studies, with account for the ambivalence of this concept and research conducted in other countries.
As public institutions that serve society by conserving and communicating the tangible and intangible heritage of humanity, museums aim to provide opportunities for social groups to engage with their unique collections and gain ‘unforgettable’ experiences (López-Sintas et al., 2012). As with many other cultural institutions, museums are highly dependent on national histories, traditions and funding, and vary widely by organizational structure, audiences and exhibits.
The paper deals with the theory of collective trauma, which is built within the framework of the “strong program” in cultural sociology by Jeffrey Alexander. The theory highlights the importance of the trauma in the shaping of contemporary Western collective identities. The central message of the theory is the avoidance of the “naturalism fallacy”, i.e. of such a vision of the trauma, which doesn’t differ seriously the fact of collective perception from the objective event. Following Alexander, sociologically valid way to explain collective trauma should focus on the symbolic mechanisms of the creating trauma, and is driven by such a notions as code, master narrative, drama, ritual, etc. The power of developed explanation is illustrated by numerous historical cases.
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.
Jeffrey Olick is one of the most prominent researchers in the field of memory studies nowadays. Yet, none of his works have been translated into Russian. “Figurations of memory” as the author himself states is one of his most important texts. It is dedicated to the process-relational methodology. J. Olick criticizes traditional approaches as they see collective memory as a static thing, whereas it should be studied as a process. On the other hand author criticizes a mainstream understanding of memory as a unified object. Instead he suggests that there are multiple mnemonic forms and practices that should be investigated. As a result he presents a new methodology that is based on analysis of the four essential aspects of memory work: field (mostly in a sense in which Bourdieu used it), medium, genre and profile. This method of analysis leads to emergence of additional empirical categories, such as official, vernacular, public, and private memory; affective, aesthetic-expressive, instrumental-cognitive, and political-moral media; the normal legitimation, German traditions, German victimhood, and German guilt genres; and the reliable, moral, and normal profiles. Though in the end the model may seem rather complex, author claims that it is by far more clear and precise that other models of research of collective memory. More than that, he claims that this methodology can be universal for studying a large number of sociological topics.
Ron Eyerman is one of the authors of the cultural theory trauma, that was introduced by him and Jeffrey Alexander. This text may be seen as a case-study, that underlines and illuminates some of the main features of the theory. Using the example of three significant social theory texts, Horkheimer and Adorno’s Dialectic of Enlightenment, Freud’s Moses and Monotheism and Bauman’s Modernity and the Holocaust, this article illustrates the difference between personal, collective and cultural trauma. All of those texts are connected to the same event – Holocaust – and are also the outcome of this event. The authors of these texts could have become the victims, but instead survived bearing the trauma, conceptualizing it and thus becoming predecessors of the cultural trauma theory. Ron Eyerman shows the complexity of relationship between personal trauma, collective trauma and the construction of social theory. Analyzing these texts he goes into history of their creation, finds evidence for the traumatic experience of authors. He also analyzes aesthetic characteristics of the texts, showing those texts as not only pieces of social theorizing but also as personal experiences, trying to find meaning in gaps, voids and inconsistency. The aim is also to illustrate how personal trauma can impact the construction and representation of social theory.
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.