This essay makes another attempt to clarify the concept of populism and to discuss its causes and consequences. It argues that, at its core, the concept of populism refers to an ‘ideology,’ i.e. a set of beliefs about how democracy works and how it ought to work. It links this core concept to other, related notions of populism, which it considers complementary rather than competing. Given its intimate links to the promises of democracy, populism thrives in times of political and economic crises. In addition, it is facilitated by the way the media operate in contemporary democracies. The political crisis provides an opportunity for populists to point to the broken promises of democracy and to mobilize in the name of ‘the people’ who have gone unrepresented by the mainstream political forces. Finally, the electoral mobilization by populists may have a corrective democratic effect, and populists in power do not seem to put democracy in danger as long as they have to cooperate in coalition governments with mainstream parties which are electorally more important. It is in (quasi)majoritarian systems where populists gain power as the dominant force that they pose a threat to liberal democracy.
The essay is an attempt to distinguish between the semantic notion of “childfree” and that of “voluntary childlessness” taking into account the Russian specifics. The author consistently describes socio-political content of the Russian research field emphasizing the conservative pro-natal trends of the recent years. The paper considers the origins of the conceptual field of non-parenthood and the evolution of the related research area. For the first time in the Russian-language scientific literature, the National Organization of Non-Parents, a key actor in childfree activism, is described in detail. In addition, based on the data of a study conducted in 2014-2016, the author examines the childfree category internalized in the Russian-language discourse (“chayldfri”) and the notion of “dobrovolnaya bezdetnost” (voluntary childlessness). The author also outlines the semantic points framing these notions and leveling off the tendency to equate these notions in the everyday and scientific discourses. By criticizing the use of the childfree notion in the Russian-language practice, the author proposes to apply the notion of voluntary childlessness as the latter one is wider, more fundamental and less complex semantically. The article also explores the widely used notion of “childhate” and the phenomenon of regretting parenthood. The author offers a heuristically valuable alternative to each of them. In conclusion, the author redefines the notions discussed in the article and proposes a conceptual framework for further research on voluntary childlessness in the Russian context.
The paper concentrates on the problem of sociological classics in contemporary historical research. Since the mid-20th century, historians as well as other representatives of the humanities aspired to the scientization of their discipline. The process later was dubbed ‘the strategy of borrowing’ which implies that history can naturally rely on the theoretical apparatus of the social sciences. Since the 1960s, historiography has changed rapidly as the following model of interaction became established: a social science – a corresponding historical subdiscipline – the choice of macro- (and later also micro-) theory – and its application to historical material. For example, the theory of modernization and world-systems analysis were promptly taken up by historians as was a concept of symbolic power. Today we have many interesting examples of micro-history being modeled on micro-sociology through the use of corresponding concepts.
Talking about borrowing social theories by the historians, receptivity curves should be taken into consideration – the employment of strong theories usually begins later and continues when these are already losing popularity in adjacent disciplines. Examples from recent studies in social history could be offered to illuminate the problem.
It is admitted that the time when the idea of strict scientism of history was connected to the use of leading theories of sociology, has passed. Historians’ demand for a “grand theory” seems to exist still but sociology does provide for it minimally. After 1970s, sociologists were pushed out by classics of cultural and social anthropology, then – the representatives of performative turn, and of post-colonial criticism. One can conclude that sociological classics turned into a monument in contemporary historical discipline. The evolution of social history after cultural and linguistic turn overcame the limits set by the scientization of social history in the spirit of 1960s-70s.
History has discovered many other social disciplines. Unlike sociology, these are less influenced by scientism, although these are called social (communication, cultural studies, education, environment, human geography, linguistics, media, etc.). However, our research shows that the rejection of structuralism, functionalism, evolutionism, determinism, and monism did not lead to the rejection of the social strata, but to superficial and often “secondhand” appropriation of new sociological approaches and concepts, which transformed the sociological arsenal of history but did not introduce “new sociological classics” into the field of the discipline.
The proposed translation of the “Key concepts in familistic” by the Russian-speaking reader pursues several goals, near and far. The closest pragmatics of this fascinating reading is that in the absence of a single sociological monoconception regarding the phenomenon of the modern family, the reader can expand his horizon of understanding the various aspects of theorizing about family, parenthood, partnership, childhood, etc. The format of the encyclopedia allows you to solve this problem, following the logic of the collected puzzles. But the present publication can be viewed in the broader context of modern Western familial studies. In this sense, we get acquainted with the current conceptual ideas that feed the family today, with their reception and the results of empirical sounding.