This paper focuses on the analysis of contemporary theories of culture and cognition in cultural sociology. It identifies two major research traditions within cognitivist cultural sociology, based on micro-individualist and collectivist modes of sociological explanation respectively. Two prominent theoretical frameworks within the "micro-individualist" tradition are then critically examined: Stephen Vaisey's dual-process models of culture in action and Omar Lizardo's typology of cultural kinds. It is argued that both frameworks, although well-defined and theoretically insightful, are prone to unwarranted microfoundationalist reductionism. The paper then proceeds to evaluate the presuppositions of the explicitly "collectivist" Zeru-bavelian paradigm of cultural sociology, as well as a series of recent contributions to the field by scholars representing the neo-Durkheimian "strong program". Both are argued to contain problematic assumptions about the location and means of transmission of cultural content. It is concluded that neither "micro-individualist" nor "collectivist" theories of culture and cognition can provide an adequate account of how culture and cognition interrelate since both frameworks are based on explicitly reductionist social ontologies. The article then calls for the adoption of Tuukka Kaidesoja's "naturalized critical realist" social ontology that seeks to overcome these philosophical biases. The paper examines two major sources of Kaidesoja's ontological doctrine, namely Mario Bunge's systemic materialist ontology and the "distributed cognition" perspective. The article then seeks to outline a preliminary sketch of an alternative account of culture that involves the generation, transmission, and transformation of representational states across different media within distributed cognitive systems
The problem of things, that has become one of the central problems of social research, made just a small contribution to the clarification of the notion of "thing". It is shown in this paper that the empirical analysis of the ways of everyday production of "things" allow us to view "thing" as a result of situated practices of handling particular things that are suggested to be considered as these-things. Based on the analysis of situations of airport screening and the loss of things in the subway, this study suggests that there are mechanisms for the production of "things" out of these-things, which presuppose specific ways of categorizing the ownership of these-things,of mutual constitution of "things" and public space, of ensuring comparability of these-things, and of doing certain actions with these-things. Such an analysis may be called "the sociology of this" because it can be applied to any social phenomena which are ineradicably particular, literal and observable.
This article presents results of the study, based on interviews with classical homoeopaths. We focus on the apparent tension between the statements of classical homeopathy and practices. On the one hand, classical homeopathy declares a gap with biomedicine, but on the other — the status of this break is not confirmed by their practice. This paradox problematize with the practice theory proved that the practice of classical homeopathy includes a biomedical preposition as tacit knowledge (M. Polany). On the way to this conclusion we considered conceptual question of relations of inconsistent practices and their transmission. Accessing G. Ryle’s critique of mentalism and ideas of practice theorists we justify vivid character of practices and tacit knowledge as visible, but does not noticed; thus we overcome S. Turner’s skepticism about the reality of practices as a collective phenomenon, capable of transmission. In contrast to the Turner’s causal interpretation of practice theory, the relationship between biomedical assumptions and homeopathic practice is proposed as the ratio of figure and ground. This conception is refined with the help of L. Wittgenstein’s idea of change aspect, in which homeopathy and biomedicine are not acting different practices but particular aspects of one indivisible medical practice. As a criterion of visibility biomedical prepositions called the fact of classical homeopathy emphasizing the differences and contradictions of homeopathy and biomedicine, as well as their ability to transfer (change of aspect) between concepts of the two systems. From this point of view, classical homeopathy statements should not comply with the specific targets of a particular medical practice in which they engage, rather then the purposes of identification and professionalization. Thus the tacit knowledge paradox is achieved by separating professionalized strategies from a purely medical ones.
The world of animals in the late Soviet culture is considered as an example of an «imagined world», which is based on performative practices of demonstration and contemplation of things and their signs. The fact that in the period under review, in the field of cultural colonization of «wildlife», historicity is displaced by performativity, is determined by the tradition of Russian literary animalism. In this tradition the animal is not deprived of subjectivity/agency, but these qualities get their meaning only in the horizon of the Human: the animal as such is unhistorical and no story about the animal world without any connection with the human world is possible. We will use several cases to discuss, firstly, the role of performativity in the construction of the animal world and, secondly, the role of communicative practices in the process of establishing relationships between the animal and human worlds. Performativity and communicative efficiency, being transposed into the space of the Work, consistently opposed as visibility vs. reality, unproductivity vs. creativity, social atomization vs. experience of togetherness/belonging, disenchantment vs. reenchantment of the world. Our examples demonstrate different possibilities of overcoming the sentimental pathos in the treatment of relations between humans and non-humans, inevitable in cases where the animalistic narrative is limited to the theme of vain suffering of the animal in an alien world. The ethics of compassion evolves here into the ethics of collaboration and the practice of moral construction of particular communicative community.
The concept of revolution remains relevant both for social-political debates and for academic studies. But at the same time many left thinkers as well as Neo-Marxist theorists have some problems with this concept, as it is no longer possible to reflect on revolution in terms of laws of history. For this reason, supporters of revolution consider revolution as a kind of utopian condition. Another difficulty is connected to the fact that today it is no longer possible to make a bet on this or that social class as the subject of revolutionary changes. Utopia once again becomes a helping hand for supporters of radical social transformations. At the same time cinema as well as technological forecasting suggest to researchers that at least in futurology one can consider the possibility of the subject of revolution being not humans but robots, cyborgs, or artificial intelligence. Seen in this light, revolution not just ceases to be a Marxist concept, but it also drops out of left political rhetoric. But what is more important — it becomes a matter of antiutopian phantasies. In this article the author relying on social philosophy and rich empirical material from contemporary sci-fi cinema reflects on the possibility of the revolution of the robots. He wants to understand under what conditions and why can artificial intelligence organize a revolution. He also reflects on the ethical problems connected to exploitation of machines and wide implementation of robotics in everyday human life. A special emphasis is laid on contemporary anti-utopias, as well as on early movies by Ridley Scott “Alien” and “Blade Runner”, which, as the author claims, are very good illustrations of robots’ disposition to revolutionary activities.
The paper considers so-called “Hobbes’ problem”: the question concerning the possibility of the social order. In the paper two key solutions, proposed in contemporary sociology, are reviewed: the conception of normative order, formulated in the works of Talcott Parsons, and the idea of situated action, expresses by Harold Garfinkel. It is shown that these two approaches are incommensurable because they answer in different ways to the central questions of the Hobbes’ problem: the question of the ordinariness of order and the question of the observability or concreteness of order.
Independent social life of the “Thaw” period is examined less then dissidents’ resistance or mass public actions of Perestroika. Appealing to the 1950–1960s independent initiatives and protest actions allow us to keep track of changes in the dialogue between authorities and the society in postwar USSR. The article demonstrates that ideas and images connected with October Revolution of 1917 and with reforms of the state-socialism in Eastern Europe during mid-1950s markedly affected on critical programs of the “Thaw” period. One of the key questions of the epoch sounded like: “Was the Soviet state the pure successor of the proletarian dictatorship?” Unsolved social and economic problems, state unwillingness to listen for the alternative political projects from-below, repressions against dissenters who stuck to ideals of the October became reasons of the social apathy and critical intelligentsia’s disillusion in socialist ideas at large.
In this response I briefly overview the theory of Court-Secretariat relations formulated in my previous paper (Sotsiologiya vlasti 2, 2015). I also review the criticism by Blokhin by answering some of his critiques and refining my own arguments where necessary. Most importantly, based on the quantitative analysis of the Russian Constitutional Court decisions I reconsider the periodization of the Court-Secretariat relations. Without renouncing the influence of Court relocation to St. Peterburg in 2008, I record an earlier breakdown in the model of Court-Secretariat cooperation in 2006‐2007, most probably triggered by the 2005 Act on Citizens’ Inquiries. In light of these new results I also put forward a novel argument pertaining to the agenda setting at the Court. In particular, I suggest that whereas before 2006 the agenda setting was dominated by the Court chairman (who controlled the distribution of reports among justices), as the mode of Court-Secretariat relations started to change, so did the agenda setting which should have also become more pluralistic. With more petitions reported to the Court by the Secretariat directly, and not through the chairman, the justices could use these petitions to build their cases without chairman having previously nominated them to report on these cases.
This article describes today’s discursive representation features of buildings created for non-regular everyday use in socialist cities. Descriptions of residential complexes for workers in two countries are used as empirical base: one case in Russia, Moscow, and two cases in China, Taiyuan and Wuhan. We use collective memory concept by A. Assman to analyze strategies implied by different agents to attract attention to the described residential quarters. For all cases, narratives include a legitimate discourse of collective memory on the years of construction, i.e. glorious start of industrial progress in the PRC and making of yet another Soviet avant-garde architectural masterpiece in the USSR. For Chinese cases, representations are clear and consistent for residents, experts and visitors from outside; Moscow case requires expert knowledge and organization of special events to transmit knowledge to guests and even residents. Authentic features, nominated as valuable and subject to preservation, coincide in expert and "philistine" narratives for cases of the PRC; in Moscow case, expert discourse becomes the leading one. At the same time, in both cases troubled memories of national historical events could be found: "cultural revolution" and the Great Terror. In Moscow, these memories are not presented at the residents level, however, corresponding information is transferred from archives to local public memory, being included in exhibition and excursions. In the PRC, memories of traumatic events exist in individual and social memory, manifesting themselves through direct communication. The study contributes to "post-socialist ethnography" by highlighting universal and particular features of discursive representations.
The article provides an attempt to analyze management practices in market companies, based on the foucauldian approach and the theory of cognitive capitalism. The analysis answers three research questions: what kinds of labor management regimes can be distinguished in the production sector based on “immaterial” labor? What is the relationship between the type of management regime in a company and the degree of creativity of its employees? What are the limits to the effectiveness of these different regimes? Based on the theoretical apparatus of Foucault and the existing empirical studies within the foucauldian framework, the author identifies the signs of the two main modes of labor management (disciplinary and biopolitical) in the aspects of space and time regulation, hierarchical relations, rules of conduct in the office, employee identity and encouragement practices. Similarly, relying on the resources of post-operaismo and the theory of cognitive capitalism, a list of strategies for resisting these regulations is formulated: opportunism, ignoring, fixing contradictions in identity, cynicism, idle talk and exit. During the empirical analysis of selected cases of Russian companies engaged in the production of intangible assets, the author identifies five key management practices: panoptic control, normalization, employee management through the expansion of the area of responsibility (implemented through the practice of building task-oriented labor), encouragement practices and the construction of employee identity through the values of involvement, development and effectiveness. At the conceptual level, it is demonstrated that less standardized and more creative labor combines better with biopolitical management; more standardized and less creative, in turn, with a disciplinary one; the distribution of empirical cases, in general, confirms this conclusion. The limits of effectiveness of each of the control modes are demonstrated through an analysis of how their functioning provokes opposing resistance practices. The final paragraph of the paper outline ways to build a more complex classification of four labor management regimes.