The Soviet version of modernity: Weberian and post-Weberian perspectives
The article discusses several approaches to the study of Soviet society drawing on Max Weber’s theoretical models or following a broadly-understood Weberian tradition in historical sociology. Weberian perspectives have been used for the analysis of the Russian Revolution of 1917 and its aftermath. The early Bolshevik Party has been characterized as a community of “ideological virtuosi” while its further development has been described either as “incomplete rationalization” or as a re-traditionalization. In the article, it is argued that employing the post-Weberian multiple modernities approach allows us to overcome some of the difficulties that have emerged in this case. In particular, the article focuses on Johann Arnason’s analysis of the Soviet model of modernity. For Arnason, the Soviet model incorporated both the legacy of imperial transformation from above and the revolutionary vision of a new society. He claims that communism represented a distinctive version of modernity rather than a deviation from the modernizing mainstream. In recent historical studies of the Soviet period, two approaches have been formed stressing the modernity of the Soviet regime or its neo-traditionalist aspects. The distinction between these approaches has been discussed by Michael David-Fox. The article considers the parallels between the new historical studies of Soviet society, on the one hand, and both Weberian and post-Weberian sociological perspectives, on the other.
It is argued that Weberian concepts such as 'charisma of reason' and 'patrimonial bureaucracy' can be applied to the Soviet system at different stages of its evolution. Neo-Weberian theories which are not based directly on Weber's ideas can also be relevant for the study of Soviet society. But theoretical approaches of historical sociology should be complemented with more empirically oriented social history of the Soviet period.
The author presents a review of the book «The Economic Institutions of the Old Believers». The study is at the crossroads of economic history, economic sociology, economic theory (in the first place, the new institutionalism) and maybe even religious studies. The author tries to understand the mysterious phenomenon of Old Believe entrepreneurship, played a very important role in the economic development of Russia in the late XVIII-early XX centuries.
This article explores how actor-network theory has redescribed the concept of modernity. B. Latour provides a radical critique of modern rationality by undermining its basic opposition between nature and culture. What he offers instead is relational approach to techno-science. From this point of view, all the actors are initially hybrid entities, and the ontological regime of modernity emerged as an unsuccessful attempt to purify and to divide them into clearly defined 'subjects' and 'objects'. The main paradox of modern rationality is that while it was trying to produce an illusion of two different realms (nature and culture), the number of hybrids was increasing dramatically. To tackle this problem, Latour offered a quite utopian alternative - the Parliament of Things. In the end of the article, it is stated that there is a danger for ANT of being modernist itself. And it is rejection of reductionism that distinguishes actor-network analysis from the other theories of modernity.
The book is dedicated to the great German sociologist Max Weber. This volume contains eleven papers originating from a symposium organized by Aleksanteri Institute in 2007. The scholars from Russia, Finland and other countries discuss various aspects of Weber's heritage and its relationship to Russia.
Leo Tolstoy and Max Weber on value neutrality of university research The problem of value neutrality of science is considered on the basis of works by Leo Tolstoy and Max Weber. In the first part of the article, the statements on the value neutrality of scientific knowledge and university teaching by Weber and Tolstoy are made explicit and analyzed in a comparative perspective. In the second part, the central problem of Tolstoy and Weber, that is, a rational choice of the value paradigm, is studied systematically. Differences in their assumptions and conclusions are shown. In the third part, a historical commentary to the context of Tolstoys and Webers works is given. The works are treated as episodes in a wider modern history of the value neutralization of the scientific knowledge and university teaching. The specifics of this process are tightly connected with the fundamental principles of the modern research university (the Humboldtian model of university).
"First revision" of the city of Krasnoyarsk and the Krasnoyarsk district, conducted in 1719-1722 years - an unique document of the Epoch of Peter the Great. The text of manuscript of the first quarter of the 18th century contains priceless demographic and sociological information about one of the regions most important for understanding the history of Eastern Russia. Text is provided with an introductory article and commentaries.
The article discusses the conceptions of the Russians that are held by the contemporary Chinese. The research draws on popular literature on Russia, published in China during the last ten years, as well as on Chinese Internet materials and the author's own fieldwork. It is peculiar, the author notes, that in the sources studied, there are scarce mentions of the attributes that are common for both the Chinese and the Russians; whereas what is typically underlined is the controversial nature of the Russians, which is conceived as a negative feature or even a hindrance to mutual understanding. Relationships between the spouses or between different generations within a Russian family, as the contemporary Chinese see them, appear rather far from their own ideal. At the same time, the upbringing of children in Russia is assessed fairly positively, while the image of the Russian woman has much appeal among the residents of contemporary China.
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.