The School Canon as a Battlefield: A Baptismal Font without a Child
Mikhail Pavlovets surveys one of the hottest issues of Russian life today: school education. His article “School Canon as a Battlefield: A Font with no Child” develops a topic introduced by the author in the NZ pages, that of the formation and transformation of the “school literary canon”. The first of these pieces, “School Canon as a Battlefield: Historical Reenactment” (2016. № 2(106)), talked of the historical development of the school canon since the middle of the 19th century. The second one focuses on recent events: the way the school literature curriculum – and with it, the list of compulsory books – has turned (not at all unexpectedly) into a mirror of the “protective-conservative line” currently taken by the Russian authorities.
The article is devoted to the history of the school literary canon. The autor traces its development from the late 19th century, when a Russian literature course was first adopted by gymnasium, to the end of the Soviet era.
The book examines deep shifts in the religious life of Russia and the post-Soviet world as a whole. The author uses combined methods of history, sociology and anthropology to grasp transformations in various aspects of the religious field, such as changes in ritual practices, the emergence of a hierarchical pluralism of religions, and a new prominence of religion in national identity discourse. He deals with the Russian Church’s new internal diversity in reinventing its ancient tradition and Eastern Orthodoxy’s dense and tense negotiation with the State, secular society and Western liberal globalism. The volume contains academic papers, some of them co-authored with other scholars, published by the author elsewhere within the last fifteen years.
In an analysis of research data on three generations of Russians, it was found that the impetus prompted by the social and economic transformation in the early 1990s that opened up opportunities for social and professional growth had been practically exhausted by late 2006, and the tendency toward downward social mobility has become more pronounced. This provides evidence that the social structure of today's Russia is "stagnant" and there are no positive shifts in its dynamics.
The current crisis between the EU and Russia is influenced by much more serious factors than political tensions over Ukraine or the US political agenda. We suppose that to some extent it has represented a consequence of the crisis of national identity in Russia during the post-Soviet period. And the ongoing crisis clearly reflects that unclear social, political and national identities allow some stakeholders to substitute an objective stimulus for sustainable cooperation with cultural and economic partners that have been historically close, i.e., Russia and European countries, by negative propaganda. The current perception of Europe and Europeans, which is widely shared by the majority of the Russian population, has switched from a thousand years of joint history, development and cultural enrichment to ‘irreconcilable divergences’. This dramatic process develops both in the EU and Russia nowadays but in this paper we focus on the challenge to Russian identity, its roots and modern aspects. The analysis we provide within this paper demonstrates some fundamental preconditions of the political crisis between the EU and Russia that started in 2014, related to identity challenge rather than to international relations per se or value conflict. The concluding part of this paper is dedicated to a search for new approaches to identity policy that might be implemented in Russia and would positively influence a political dialogue between Europe and Russia by making it more predictable.
Students' internet usage attracts the attention of many researchers in different countries. Differences in internet penetration in diverse countries lead us to ask about the interaction of medium and culture in this process. In this paper we present an analysis based on a sample of 825 students from 18 Russian universities and discuss findings on particularities of students' ICT usage. On the background of the findings of the study, based on data collected in 2008-2009 year during a project "A сross-cultural study of the new learning culture formation in Germany and Russia", we discuss the problem of plagiarism in Russia, the availability of ICT features in Russian universities and an evaluation of the attractiveness of different categories of ICT usage and gender specifics in the use of ICT.