Судьбы цивилизаций и русский вопрос
Contemporary discussion on the concept of "civilization" raises a number of questions for researchers: what is civilization? Does it make sense to talk about "civilizations" in the plural? What is the relationship between "civilization" and contemporaneity? The relevance of the issues can be confirmed by indicating the appeal to them not only by scientists, but also by politicians and common people. The cultural complexity of the contemporary world leads to the fact that the concepts are used more often, but the clarity of their meanings is largely lost. The article proposes to return to the methodological issue of definition of concepts in order to clarify how contemporaneity functions. To achieve this goal, it is proposed to consider the concept of "civilization" and "civilizations", first, in the historical context, and, secondly, to relate them to one of the most important features of contemporaneity – "late globalization". The author assumes that the undertaken consideration is able not only to clarify the use of concepts, but also to deepen our understanding of contemporaneity, as well as to get closer to the productive meaning of the discussion on "civilizational projects" which is relevant in the Russian context.
Spirituality is one of the key concepts in cultural historical psychology; however, its definition remains the subject of controversy. Most approaches simply reproduce the meaning of spirituality adopted in various religions (especially in Christianity). In this case spirituality is understood as a feature of human beings, something high spirited and positive, implying the infinite perspective of approximating the Absolute. Yet, when this concept is used in a non religious sense, its definitions reveal circular reasoning (spirituality is understood as an aspiration for spiritual values). One can also speak of circular reasoning when the religious understanding of spirituality is prefaced with scientific researches of spiritual phenomena in all spheres of human existence, so that the outcomes of such researches would confirm the initial premises, or even coincide with them. The author suggests that spirituality be understood as the potential for human freedom. Actualization of this potential can thus be positively or negatively evaluated with regard to the historically relevant cultural context (and not according to the absolute scale of values as it happens when spirituality is understood in the religious sense). The suggested interpretation implies the understanding of culture as the system of ultimate values that people accept as guidelines in their lives. Within this culture spirituality can be evaluated both positively and negatively, and so do cultural values that spirituality refers itself to. This is spirituality in its subjective meaning. Objectivation of spirituality can be defined as the potential for culture that is being actualized in the changes in the system of cultural universals. The spirit of culture is free and thus capable of such changes. Otherwise, there is no culture, but only its formal outer shell called civilisation.
The paper examines the structure, governance, and balance sheets of state-controlled banks in Russia, which accounted for over 55 percent of the total assets in the country's banking system in early 2012. The author offers a credible estimate of the size of the country's state banking sector by including banks that are indirectly owned by public organizations. Contrary to some predictions based on the theoretical literature on economic transition, he explains the relatively high profitability and efficiency of Russian state-controlled banks by pointing to their competitive position in such functions as acquisition and disposal of assets on behalf of the government. Also suggested in the paper is a different way of looking at market concentration in Russia (by consolidating the market shares of core state-controlled banks), which produces a picture of a more concentrated market than officially reported. Lastly, one of the author's interesting conclusions is that China provides a better benchmark than the formerly centrally planned economies of Central and Eastern Europe by which to assess the viability of state ownership of banks in Russia and to evaluate the country's banking sector.
The results of cross-cultural research of implicit theories of innovativeness among students and teachers, representatives of three ethnocultural groups: Russians, the people of the North Caucasus (Chechens and Ingushs) and Tuvinians (N=804) are presented. Intergroup differences in implicit theories of innovativeness are revealed: the ‘individual’ theories of innovativeness prevail among Russians and among the students, the ‘social’ theories of innovativeness are more expressed among respondents from the North Caucasus, Tuva and among the teachers. Using the structural equations modeling the universal model of values impact on implicit theories of innovativeness and attitudes towards innovations is constructed. Values of the Openness to changes and individual theories of innovativeness promote the positive relation to innovations. Results of research have shown that implicit theories of innovativeness differ in different cultures, and values make different impact on the attitudes towards innovations and innovative experience in different cultures.