Not an epidemic, but a global problem: the authorities’ construction of HIV/AIDS in Russia
The article deals with the ways Russian authorities have constructed the social problem of HIV/AIDS (human immunodeficiency virus/ acquired immune deficiency syndrome) in Russia. The statistical construction of HIV/AIDS includes data indicating the significant rise of HIV prevalence in Russia since 2000. The study focuses on what and how Russian authorities speak about HIV/AIDS, while there are official data on the rapid spread of the virus in the country. The work is based on a discourse analysis of the authorities’ rhetoric about HIV/AIDS. During his first presidential terms, Vladimir Putin constructed HIV/AIDS not as an epidemic in the country, but as a “global problem,” representing Russia as a participant in international efforts to combat AIDS. The president problematized the HIV spread through the rhetoric of endangerment but without its crucial term “epidemic,” while at the same time de-problematized HIV in Russia by the strategy of naturalizing (“this is a problem that all countries face”). The Russian authorities appealed to traditional moral values and spoke about marginal or risk groups, rather than risk practices. After the deterioration of relations with Western countries since 2007, the Russian president excluded HIV/AIDS problem from his public agenda, despite the existence of the data on steep HIV growth in Russia. The Russian president’s traditionalism, de-problematization, and silence concerning HIV/AIDS lead to the absence of the HIV/AIDS issues in media agenda, the agenda of local authorities, and consequently the personal agendas of Russian citizens. The consequences are ignorance, fears, stigmatization of people living with HIV, semi-legal status of needle, and syringe exchange programs for intravenous drug users, low antiretroviral therapy coverage, and the continuing HIV epidemic.
The book includes the result of social researches in diiferent fields of modern sciense represented on the conference in Canada..
This article focuses on the meanings of search work in Russia, i.e. the search for and identification of the unburied remains of Soviet soldiers who perished in WW2. These meanings are constructed not only by the participants of expeditions (or poiskoviki, as they call themselves), but also by the Russian authorities, who actively support this movement. To reconstruct these meanings, we rely on several different sources: the addresses of Russia’s presidents to the search movement, participant observations as part of expeditions, interviews with their members and texts by the searchers themselves in the form of books, stories, songs and blog posts in social media. The rhetoric of the state authorities as regards the movement is filled with elevated sentiments like “patriotism”, “heroism”, “education”, “pride for the Fatherland”, and “national consolidation”. They tend to discursively embed it in the patriotic education of Russian citizens, formulating the meanings of the search in the context of militarized patriotism. The search work is presented by the president as a demonstration of “genuine patriotism”, which consists in defending the country with arms and self-sacrifice. Searchers’ statements about their work are colored with motives of a different tone, such as the sense of unfairness towards the soldiers who have remained unburied for decades. Some members of the movement reject the patriotic rhetoric and critically contest the educational effect of their work. The desire to restore fairness by burying the remains and informing the relatives about the fate of missing soldiers is the basic meaning of the searches according to the participants. A successful search is thought to contribute to the understanding of the tragedy of a family that lost loved ones in the war. The problematization of the war in the searchers’ experiences is discursively and explicitly contrasted with the authorities’ militaristic rhetoric.
The article discusses the ambiguity of the definition of "social problems", argued the media influence on the formation and construction of social problems in the community, analyze the basic mechanisms used by the media for the construction of a social problem and considered as an example - a disease caused by the Ebola virus (EVD), carried out comparative characteristics media coverage of the Ebola and influenza, in order to form part of the society of how and why the Russian media coverage of the events.
The report presents the results of the study of claims-making in the LiveJournal posts about police and prison violence in Russia. The study is based on two cases: violence against the detainee Sergei Nazarov in the police department "Dalny" in Kazan in March 2012, which became the cause of his death, and open letters sent by Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova from penal colony located in Mordovia in September and October 2013. The data highlight, firstly, the dominant retranslating function of the blogosphere and its weak mobilizing function, secondly, the similarity of rhetorical idioms used in these two cases, in particular, the rhetoric of endangerment (to citizens from authorities) and rhetoric of calamity (focused on Vladimir Putin’s presidency), third, attempts to legitimize violence against detainees and prisoners, fourthly, the systemic bloggers’ perception of processes in Russian police, prisons and penal colonies, fifth, the dominance of civic and sarcastic styles of claims-making in the blogosphere.
This book studies the role of civil society organisations in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Russia. The book investigates civil society organizations’ contribution to social change and civil society development in post-Soviet Russia, and thus situates a specific type of civil society actors into a broader socio-political context and questions their ability to represent civic interests, particularly in the field of social policy-making and health.
The article describes the methodology of rhetorical deconstruction of social problems which was worked out in sociology. The potentialities of its use in the analysis of television programs are shown by the example of one issue of talk show «Gordon Kihot» dedicated to the phenomenon on of glamour.
The article presents the experience of constructing of the social problems by students and teacher within the sociological course. Last years the course “Sociology of Social Problems” includes optional actionist part with a claims-making concerning some situations. The article describes actions made by the participants of the course with the aim to include in the city agenda such problems as the destroying of one of the famous historical buildings in Kazan (Karl Fuchs House), the inaccessibility of urban space for disabled people and the imposing of the music and ads on the pedestrians. The influence of such constructionist projects and their alleged significance for the students are discussed. In conclusion some questions concerning the transition from traditional teaching of sociology towards the teaching connected with the sociological intervention are formulated.
The question of social problems often meets with a central epistemological issue; how do we know that a given social problem actually exists? This article takes on this issue with a constructionist approach, employing the rhetorical deconstruction of media discourse witnessed in the work of Ibarra and Kitsuse. In such terms a social problem does not exist independently, it can only be considered to exist with reference to some linguistic version that produces it. Social Constructionism is seen to be the most suitable approach for the research of the processes of media communication as it allows the researcher to deconstruct this discourse into its constituent fragments, which can then be analysed . A review of this theory is provided to acquaint the reader with the strength of this approach. The media world is seen as a place that, rather than faithfully reflecting social reality, actually contributes to the construction of social reality. The focus of this article is the application of constructionism to the talk show ‘Gordon Quixote’, which is dedicated to discussion of the ‘social issue’ of glamour. The analysis of this programme allows us to reveal the strategies of problematisation and deproblematisation of glamour as a social and cultural phenomenon. This leads the author to the conclusion that television programmes are creating only the appearance of public discussion on the ‘hot topics’ of the day, in as far as they choose what things to make into ‘hot topics’. This means the creation of ‘scarecrow’ topics that are not really connected to serious issues. The presenter can take on the role of the knight furiously fighting windmills in the classic quixotic sense. The great source of excitement in the mass media is linked with the internal prerogative to successfully market one’s programming and appear ‘non-conformist’ in the treatment of issues before a skeptical audience.
In this exploratory study, we examined several interethnic ideologies held by individuals (assimilation, colorblindness, multiculturalism, and polyculturalism) from a social ecological perspective. We examined moderation effects of neighborhood ethnic density (ED) on relationships between interethnic ideologies and intergroup bias towards various minority ethnic groups in the Russian context. Intergroup bias was assessed as a composite score of bias toward four ethnic groups who have different cultural distances from the Russian mainstream population: Chechens, Belarusians, Uzbeks, and Chinese. We obtained a gender balanced sample of ethnic Russians from the Central Federal District of Russia (N = 359) comprising of 47% women and 53% men. The measures were used in a Russian translation by an adaptation using the back-translation and cognitive interviews. Multiple regression analysis was used to test the relationships. The results showed that high perceived neighborhood non-Russian ED weakened negative relations between intergroup bias and ideologies that purportedly accept cultural diversity (multiculturalism and polyculturalism). On the other hand, for interethnic ideologies those purportedly reject cultural diversity, high perceived neighborhood non-Russian ED weakened the positive relations between intergroup bias and assimilation and strengthened the negative relations between intergroup bias and colorblindness. The pattern of results suggests that the relationship between attitudes and intergroup bias may change based on the perceived ethnic composition of the local area and frequency of contacts. Although our findings are relatively novel they support the emerging view that attitudes and intergroup relations need to be studied from a social ecological context.
The present paper discusses perspectives of Activity Theory (AT) in the context of contemporary globalizing world, describing which we refer to the notion “De-structuralized modernity” (Sorokin & Froumin, 2020). Radical changes in everyday life challenge social sciences and humanities. Approaches are in demand, which have the potential to comprehend the changing human étant and éntre. We argue that Activity Theory has the potential to face these challenges. Leontiev’s AT grounds on the idea of qualitatively new mental features arising to deal with novel environmental challenges, which is much in line with J.M. Baldwin reasoning on evolution. AT also offers a method to prognosis the upcoming neoplasms. In the same time, applying classics of AT to the current reality, “De-structuralized modernity”, entails the need for new theoretical elaborations of the latter, stemming from the radical transformation of the relations between individual and socio-cultural environments. A unique societal context emerges on the global level, which, on the one hand, requires individual to adapt constantly to changing socio-cultural reality, and, on the other hand, dramatically expands his/her potential for proactive actorhood transforming surrounding structures. We argue that the major and novel challenge for the individual is the task of maintaining the integrity and coherence of the a) Self-identity and b) system of links in and with the socio-cultural environment - in their dynamics and unity. The notion of “culture” has particular relevance and importance in this context because it allows grasping simultaneously two dimensions in their dynamic dialectical interrelations. First, the “internal” (“subjective”, “in the minds”) and “external” (“objective”, material and institutional environment) realities. Second, individual (“micro”) and societal (“macro”) scales of human activities. Discussing the ways to understand these dynamics, we dispute the popular “constitutive view” on personality and refer to the concept of the “ontological shift” (Mironenko & Sorokin, 2018). We also highlight how technological advancements change and “expand” human nature making it capable to deal with the outlined new tasks.