The review considers the social aspects of the changing role of public libraries. It shows how the traditional role of libraries as «knowledge storages» is supplemented by such tasks as defense of rights and creating space for public life.
In India, anti-corruption mass protests began in April 2011 against various aspects of corruption such as kleptocracy, electoral fraud and black money. The protestors demanded the enactment of a strong legislation and enforcement against perceived political corruption. The protestors used non-violent repertoires of civil disobedience such as hunger strikes, marches, and rallies. They used social media to organise, communicate, and spread their message. Initially non-partisan to politics, the mobilisations fought for the Jan Lokpal Bill (introduced in parliament in 2011). Later, the core activist group split into two and one group formed a political party called Aam Aadmi Party (common man’s party). It won the Delhi legislative assembly polls and formed the government. The Lokpal and Lokayukt Act (or the Lokpal Act) was enacted in 2013. This was a major success of the mobilisations. Bangladesh won independence from Pakistan through a bloody war in 1971. During the war, the Pakistan army violated human rights and conducted genocide on a large scale. In 2009, the ruling Awami League government formed an International Crime Tribunal to put alleged war criminals to trial. In 2010, the Tribunal delivered its first indictment against groups considered enemy ‘collaborators’ and ‘traitors’ (Razakars, Al Badr, and Al Sham). But the indictments divided the country into seculars (who embraced the Bangladeshi identity, demanded capital punishment for war criminals, and found the indictments too lenient) and Islamic hardliners (who nursed their severed links with Pakistan and tried to save the war criminals). In February 2013, massive public protests started in the Shahbag public square to demand capital punishment for war crime convict Abdul Quader Mollah and a ban against the radical Islamist group Jamat-e-Islami. Secular activists used non-violent repertoires and mobilised people through social media and blogs. Though the hardliners murdered many activists, the secular protests were successful to some extent, as many of the convicted were given capital punishment. In both cases, a ‘protest public’ emerged. Though not organised through any civil society organisation or social movement, they successfully brought about sociopolitical transformations, policy shifts, and legal transformation. These protest 2 participants were mostly youth, and used only non-violent repertoires, even though the opposition used massive violence (mainly in case of Shahbag). These South Asian protests were influenced by Occupy Wall Street and Arab Spring, but were located between the local and global. They were influenced by global protest cycles, but raised national identity, consciousness, and conscience as a public issue, and demanded direct participation in national policy formulations. There were divergences also. In India, protests led to a party being formed (the party formed a government), and changes in the law, after which the movement petered out. In Bangladesh, the Shahbag protests started a spiral of counter-violence, radicalisation, and ‘terrorist’ attacks that engulfed society. This paper will analyse the ‘protest public’ in these two cases using an analytical framework derived from the theory of public (Habermas 1989; Fraser 1990) and link it to the notions of postcolonial society and private/public difference in South Asia (Chatterjee 1993 and Chakrabarty 1999).
The paper deals with the creative works of an outstanding German philosopher-anthropologist Helmut Plessner. He addresses to an existential structure of individuality as to a social existence and considers it as the carrier of roles. He proves that social identification is based on the idea of the person possessing a social role, but not defined by it. Plessner starts with the idea of a duality of the role relation in which the performer identifies himself. Such identification appears as the only condition in the basic relation of a social role and a human nature. On this basis in the structure of duality of the human existence, a role connecting the carrier and its figure, Plessner finds a constant of sociality. Plessner addresses to an ontologic structure of the person, an eccentric pozitionality, within social subject and defines it as “duality structure in which the carrier of a role and a figure of a role are connected”. Plessner believes that what we find exactly in this structure is "a constant" which is the condition of “human generalization”, and considers it in a quality of “the unique constant in the basic relation of a social role and a human nature”.
Pathogenesis of the Polish Public Sphere. The Intelligentsia and Popular Unrest during and after the 1905 Revolution
This paper addresses the conceptual problem of defining the origin, the structure and social foundations of massive and lasting peaceful street protests, which appeared spontaneously at the beginning of the new millennia in countries with very different levels of public wealth and socio-political development. Driven by different reasons, addressing different targets, these mass street actions have many common features that allow us to consider them a single phenomenon, which we define as a new type of social engagement, distinguished both from civil society organizations and social movements. This type of engagement is characterized by the formation and activities of protest publics, which can have deep and lasting impact on both society and policy process by transforming the public sphere through changing dominant public discourses. Such activities are largely based on a common demand of an ethical nature that can bring together many diverse social groups and mini-publics, focused on particular clusters of issues. The paper explores self-organized publics as collective social actors with unique features and capacities. It also develops a conceptual frame for protest event analysis as manifestations of protest publics, which allows us to identify the type of specific public assembled for each event, its “qualities of actorness” and its transformative potential. This conceptual frame is then applied to reconstruct the “Bolotnaya actions” in Moscow and the protests against construction of the Gazprom office tower in St. Petersburg, which makes it possible to compare the types of publics that were involved in those protests. The results include suggestions and theorizing protest actions based on the qualities of protest publics.
In this paper, we propose an alternative approach to analysing the current duality of the Russian media system, which for a long time was regarded as transitional. We propose to interpret the current Russian media system in terms of institutional conflict between norms, which were artificially implemented and the grounded informal rules embodied in everyday practices both from market agents and audiences. Mainly implemented after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the norms were based on a neo-liberal representation of the media system, involving financial independence of the media from the state, a ‘news culture’ instead of a ‘propaganda culture’ and so on. At the same time, the informal rules were based on the paternalistic role of the state, the accessibility tradition and the fragmentation of the public sphere. The interaction of such elements forms the dualist or ‘uncertain’ character of the media system.