The visual art of the last decades privileges, explicitly or implicitly, social rather than art historical or aesthetic issues. In sites ranging from university classrooms and journals to museums and biennials, the emphasis is usually put on how effectively art handles the social issues of the day while questions of aesthetic value are often treated as suspicious and ideological. Given this anti-art character in these contexts of mediation, the insistence to perceive the objects as artistic objects constitutes a paradox that has been rarely discussed in sociological terms. This article draws on ethnographic research in order to explore “biennial art” that is to say the art that displayed in contemporary art and international platforms of showcasing. These platforms struggle to maintain a concept of art as social practice while at the same time nurture an exclusive and highbrow environment in which “artfulness” is key. I call this quality artfulness so as to both underline its artificiality as well as the inventiveness and skills required for its production. Artfulness in these sites is enabled through various formal or informal rituals of valorization, including guided tours, curatorial statements, media promoting activities and artist talks. These rituals, positioning certain objects within the sphere of art and producing them as objects meriting aesthetic interpretation, resemble the politics of publicity found in aesthetic capitalism at large.
This article attempts to show that two Chinese tales composed in the ninth century belong to tale type ATU 410. They do not only share main plot elements of ATU 410, but some very specific motifs, too. The authors spent many years in Sichuan which is historically a border region of China. This provided them with the opportunity to come into contact with foreigners and to read texts influenced by Western culture. Later the story was more and more adapted to conform to local traditional texts about the revival of ghostly brides and therefore lost the characteristic features of the tale type.
This is a study of the development of video culture in Russia in the late Soviet and early post-Soviet eras through in-depth interviewing. There has been a cult audience in Russia, although without the discursive framework which has shaped Western cult cinema (i.e. participants didn’t self-identify as cultists): a phenomenon this article terms ‘analytical cult’. Not all movies that achieved cult status outside Russia have become cult in this national context, and vice versa: there are movies treated as cult in Russia that have never been positioned as such outside the country. Some forms of cultism in Russia also have no direct analogues in their Western cult counterparts due to nationally specific means of access to cinematic distribution and production, namely video parlours and authored voiceovers. These have developed into cult forms in their own right. Therefore, although cult cinema can possess a transnational currency, it can also be reshaped in cross-cultural transitions. This kind of transnational cult demonstrates that its participatory practices may not be self-reflexively positioned as ‘cult’ by audiences/marketers/film-makers.
The two most important processes influencing new cultural trends in today’s Russia are the state’s annexation of transgression and the transformation of social norms. In Russia’s public space, speakers representing different official or semi- official institutions make aggressive statements and defy accepted norms of public communication. They behave as if they perform the roles of “official holy fools”. Thus, the state “annexes” the right of mediatized public transgression characteristic of contemporary art. State actors are described in the article as “active conform- ists” embodying the expectations and desires of TV-watching “passive conformists”. Accordingly, strategies of heroic resistance in art and literature cease to be relevant for shaping the new wave of Russia’s aesthetic nonconformism. The article discusses alternative scenarios and discourses emerging in contemporary art and literature as formative for the new type of nonconformity.
These excerpts from critical reviews covering French dance tours in Vienna, Salzburg, and Innsbruck reflect the scale and variety of French cultural engagement and its growing public visibility in Austria. Out of the four Allied powers, it was France, and not the Soviet Union with its “ballet capital,” that made most use of dance and ballet for nation-brandingpurposes, both in sabots and on pointe. France's dance diplomacy exported all genres of dance to Austria in order to portray the politically and militarily weakened nation as a rayonnant cultural leader of Europe, whose diversity, supremacy, and grandeur were not undone by 1871 and 1940.
This article presents a review of a conference Debt: 5000 Years and Counting that took place at the University of Birmingham (Birmingham Research Institute for History and Cultures) on June 8–9, 2018. The conference was based on the recent influential book Debt: The First Five Thousand Years by David Graeber. The conference gathered representatives from all social sciences to discuss the understudied topic of history and ideology of debt. The review contains references to several papers discussed at the conference to give an idea of the approaches used in one way or another in many of the papers. The papers discussed in the review were devoted to the boost of micro-credit in Latvia after the 2008 global financial crisis, the ideology of trapped equity that led to this crisis, the attempt to resolve confusion between the view that debts are to be repaid and the view that profiting from lending is evil, credit in the Islamic Caliphate in the 7th to 10th centuries, the long durée of public debt since the Middle Ages to Early Modern times, and the royal debts in England in the middle of the 16th century. The conference was interesting not only because of the importance of the subject but also because of the originality of the format which helped make the event less hierarchical and less dominated by the academic elite. In addition, one of the aims of the conference was to combine academic and activist approaches. Among the participants there were a few activists. This experience is also described in the review.
Dans les "Mélanges philosophiques" pour Catherine II, Diderot, reprenant un projet de l’impératrice, insiste sur la nécessité de confectionner un petit catéchisme moral. Il avance quelques propositions dans ce sens et revient sur ce sujet dans les lettres écrites à Ivan Betskoï et à Catherine II en 1774, pendant son second séjour à La Haye. Des découvertes récentes dans les archives de Moscou permettent de préciser certaines circonstances de son intervention, mais soulèvent de nouvelles questions sur ce que fut son rôle dans cet épisode, qui comporte plusieurs points obscurs.
Diderot came to Russia in 1773 with A.V. Naryshkin, chambellan of Catherine II, and in St. Petersburg took advantage of his hospitality, as well as the hospitality of his brother S.V. Naryshkin. Conversations with them have become one of the most important sources of Diderot's information about Russia. Over time, their paths as their ideas about the prospects for the development of Russia, diverged, but their ideas about civilization turned out to be closely connected with their reflections on the “special path” of our country.
Aims: To explain comprehensively variations in adult male mortality rate in Europe, and in particular, high mortality in some East European countries with particular focus on specific patterns of alcohol consumption. Short summary: Per capita distilled spirits consumption is found to be the strongest determinant of the adult male mortality rate in Europe as soon as the unrecorded alcohol consumption is taken into account. It turns out to be much stronger than the other tested significant determinants such as per capita health expenditures, smoking prevalence, consumption of hard drugs and per capita consumption of vegetables and fruit.
Methods: Ordinary least squares (OLS) multiple regression with adult male mortality rate as a dependent variable, and various indicators of alcohol and drug consumption as well as logarithm of gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, logarithm of total per capita health expenditures, latitude (climatic factors), per capita fruit and vegetable consumption, smoking prevalence as independent factors.
Results: Per capita distilled spirits consumption turns out to be the strongest determinant of the adult male mortality rate in Europe as soon as the unrecorded alcohol consumption is taken into account. It turns out to be much stronger than the other tested significant determinants of the adult male mortality rate such as per capita health expenditures, smoking prevalence, consumption of hard drugs and per capita consumption of vegetables and fruit. Still, higher per capita wine consumption has turned out to be a marginally significant determinant of the higher adult male mortality rate in some tests. Latitude, beer and soft drug consumption have turned out insignificant in this study.
Conclusions: Spirits consumption is a major risk factor of adult male mortality, with significantly greater impact compared to beer and wine. Therefore, reduction in distilled spirits consumption in hard liquor drinking areas should be a major target in health policy.
To what extent does science in authoritarian societies initiate practices of democracy and freedom? This article provides an overview of the issue of academic rights and freedoms as an integral part of the academic ethos in the USSR and the Russian Federation and concludes that there has been a paradoxical shift in the relative extent of rights and freedoms in wider society vs. the academic world. In this author’s opinion, academic proto-freedom existed in the USSR as a component of the privileged position held by a segment of the academic community and that, therefore, the latter experienced a degree of freedom that was greater than that afforded by Soviet society in general. The situation evened out in the late 80's and early 90's and finally, with the attack of authoritarianism against the remaining academic autonomy of Russian universities in the 2000s, resulted in fewer freedoms within academia compared to society as a whole.
The paper examines the category of space as an essential aspect of the exile theater writings by César Arconada. In his plays written in the Soviet Union, the action normally takes place in Spain, inaccessible for the writer. It is a space for the fantasy, albeit recreated in a realistic manner. For the playwriter it was a way to get closer to his motherland, make it tangible in his exile.
Among the Italians who acted in the ranks of the Comintern were such well-known leaders as Antonio Gramsci, Palmiro Togliatti, Luigi Longo. However, these names can not be limited to the study of the political history of the XX century. Of particular interest is the identity of Luigi Polano from Sardinia. He boldly argued with Lenin during one of the congresses of the Comintern. He paid for it with Party career, but it didn't prevent him to show the abilities on other sites entrusted to himt, - in labor unions and in propaganda in Moscow, Berlin, Amsterdam, Tbilisi.
Claiming that that the history of the London-based Strand Magazine started with Russian literature would be understandably far-fetched but not extravagantly misleading: the episode with the notorious short novel The Kreutzer Sonata by Leo Tolstoy infamously led to the rift between the enfant terrible W.T. Stead and the future founder of the Strand George Newnes. The deal-breaking disapproval of Tolstoy’s scandalous opus did not, however, result in Newnes’ utter rejection of Russian literature. His new magazine, established shortly after the conflict, was neither straightforwardly Russophile nor openly or implicitly Russophobic unlike many of the periodicals enchafed by the turbulent “Tournament of Shadows”. At the early stages of its existence, the newly founded magazine demonstrated an explicit predilection towards translated rather than domestic fiction, with translations from Russian occupying an important niche among other national literatures. While favouring the renowned, canon-approved authors, such as Alexander Pushkin and Mikhail Lermontov, the early Strand also displayed a tendency to select the works which could be read as adventure or “healthfully” sensational stories thus conforming to the magazine’s genre policies (predominantly gothic Queen of Spades, multigenred Belkin Tales, nocturne-flavoured Tamagne from A Hero of Our Time). The texts were prefaced by introductory notes, enticing yet unconcerned with factual accuracy (e.g., Lermontov was described as a “fair-haired” man with “large blue eyes”). The notes attempted to both “domesticate” the selected authors and retain the international couleur locale while finding suitable English counterparts for the writers of choice (“Russian Othello”, “Byron of North”). The paper will trace the ever-evolving role of Russian fiction in the magazine’s history, from the aforementioned early instances to the peculiar Edwardian and post-Edwardian cases when the translations became more eclectic in nature, ranging from Ivan Turgenev’s ghost story and Tolstoy’s moralistic pieces to the middlebrow stories by Vasily Nemirovich-Danchenko and a modernist oeuvre by Leonid(as) Andreev. The paper intends to outline the strategies of selecting the “Russian material” for the lower middle class readers not only in the context of the Strand’s editorial policies but also as a part of the “middlebrow” Anglo-Russian cultural transfer mechanisms.
This study examined perfectionism as a multidimensional personality factor which influences foreign language learning and classroom anxiety. Hierarchical regression analyses confirmed that the two dimensions of perfectionism, adaptive and maladaptive, relate to Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety (FLCA) differently. After controlling for the effects of general anxiety, perceptions of academic performance, and self-reported English fluency, perfectionistic discrepancy (maladaptive aspect) was a significant predictor of FLCA; perfectionistic standards (adaptive aspect) was not. Results indicated that this multidimensional nature of perfectionism affects Russian students in the context of foreign language classroom anxiety. Implications regarding the prevention and intervention of maladaptive perfectionism among students are discussed, as well as directions for future studies. These findings are important for teachers, students, and experts who may interact with FLCA and perfectionism as well as those who may personally experience it. The possible strategies to reduce anxiety could include discussing unrealistic beliefs and expectations with reference to foreign language learning, accepting mistakes as an integral part of foreign language learning as well as coaching.
This article examines the industrial wastes and environmental effects of Soviet technological development through the history of the Karelian Isthmus, a border territory that had previously been Finnish. Focusing primarily on the history of two large enterprises – the Svetogorskii (former Enso) and Sovetskii (former Johannes) pulp and paper making plants, the authors illustrate the polluting nature of the Soviet economy in the 1940s-1980s. We contend that from the very beginning, important as they were for the USSR, the enterprises of the Isthmus were built into a system of shortages of techniques and materials that contributed to the hectic fulfillment of the plan. Producing pulp and pulp-based products remained a priority during the whole Soviet period. On the level of industrial enterprises, the Soviet system revealed itself as incapable of solving the problem of pollution and wasting. After waste treatment facilities developed by Soviet engineers in the 1960s turned out to be inadequate for dealing with increasing pollution, the Soviet authorities called on Finnish companies to carry out substantial modernization of a few enterprises on the Isthmus. This helped the modernized plants remain functioning in the age of economic crisis at the end of the Soviet epoch. Old problems, however, such as shortages and lack of expertise, remained pivotal, while new sources of pollution, such as carbon emissions, appeared. As a result, the level of contamination was still high and led to negative environmental impacts.
This article combines Media Studies' and Fan Studies' approaches to such phenomenon as global manga spread, highlighing the role of participatory cultures and fan communities in the distribution, translation and interpretation of manga in Russia. The first part of the article is dedicated to participatory cultures as a concept and cultural reality in Russia, to differences between such notions as "otaku" (manga and anime fans), fan practices, fan cultures and participatory cultures. The article stresses the productive transformative potential of participatory cultures as cultural agents, their ability to cross national and cultural borders on their own terms and to influence the development of global phenomena within local contexts, even when national cultural industries, including the mass market, are not capable for some reasons to fulfil this task properly. The second part of the article is dedicated to the international reception of a controversial manga and anime title "Made in Abyss". This case demonstrates the ability of participatory cultures to become a space for open discussions of problematic questions, for production of knowledge and thinking about Japan as well as about local cultures.
The paper explores how traditional storytelling adapts to the digital environment andadopts/assimilates it. This study is based on a corpus of fourteen semi-structured in-depth interviews of researchers and performers with an expertise in seven differentstorytelling traditions. Therefore, we present a new typology of traditional storytellers and depict their Internet/New Media usage specifics.