SOCIOLOGY: PROFESSION AND VOCATION
Interview with Professor Robert Antonio
Professor Robert Antonio answers questions of Dr. Mikhail Sinioutine concerning his scientific career and issues of sociology in a modern world.
THEORETICAL PROBLEMS OF SOCIOLOGY
Antonio R. After Postmodernism: Reactionary TribalismRevived Weimar-era "radical conservatism" and fresh "New Right" and "paleoconservative" theories offer a radical cultural critique of global capitalism and liberal democracy. Expressing a broader retribalization and perceived failure of modernization, their defense of communal particularity attacks the multicultural nation-state, liberal rights, and universal citizenship. This essay links this reactionary tribalism to a recurrent 20th-century theoretical tendency, the "total critique of modernity" — a fusion of oversimplified Nietzschean and Weberian ideas. Historically, total critique has promoted convergence between right and left, such as the current overlapping facets of "radical conservatism" and "strong-program postmodernism". Total critique counters the "historicist" method of "internal critique" and the "communication model" characteristic of reflexive social theory. The discussion uncovers the mediating role of social theory in the problematic relationship of science and partially disenchanted public spheres in plural, democratic cultures.
CLASSICS OF RUSSIAN SOCIAL THOUGHT
Malinov ?. "The Biology of Social Organisms": the Social-Historical Conception of P.G. Vinogradoff
The article traces the biography of the Russian historian Paul Vinogradoff (1854–1925) and outlines his conception of historical sociology and sociology of law. Vinogradoff based on positivist philosophy and developped the concept of "Evolution " to understand the social processes, observing them mostly in history and law.
Vinogradoff P. On Progress
A republication of P. Vinogradoff´s lectures first published as "On Progress" (Moscow, 1898)
SOCIOLOGY OF COMMUNICATION
Kolesnik N. Mass Media and Power in Contemporary Russia: a Regional Study
The article is devoted to the analysis of regional mass media transformation (on the example of Komi Republic), viewed in the light of power relations. The introduction of power component provided us with the opportunity to reveal the hierarchy of agents in the information field, to answer the question, who is a real subject of the information field in the region.
Meilakhs P. The Discourse of the Press and the Pressure of the Discourse: Constructing Drugs as a Social Problem in St. Petersburg Media
The article was devoted to studying the processes of social construction of the drug problem in Saint Petersburg press in 1997–2003. It has been found that interest of press to the drug problem both on the level of the central media and in Saint Petersburg has been steadily declining beginning from 2001 and now is on the mark that approximately corresponds to 1998. The discourse of press was also analyzed with the purpose of clarifying, whether it was in accordance with the criteria of moral panic, i.e. exaggerated reaction to some negative phenomenon and demonization of those who were attributed personal responsibility for the situation. The study has shown that albeit in Saint Petersburg the media strategies the purpose of which was "catastrophic" definition of the situation were observed, the situation cannot qualify as a moral panic since one of its crucial elements was absent or present insufficiently – the construction of "folk devil" or demonization of drug users. Nevertheless, in short period in the beginning of 2002 such demonization was observed, which allow to classify media discourse on drugs of that time as a manifestation of moral panic. A number of media discursive strategies, directed to construction of drug use heightened danger were also determined in the research, mobilization strategies of mass media and their legitimation strategies for advanced definition of the situation were studied as well.
SOCIOLOGY OF EDUCATION
Pokrovsky N. The Transformations of the Universities under the Conditions of Global Markets
University education is a social institution (similar to any other social system) closely interrelated with "everything else" in the society. The ongoing globalization processes not only radically changes the societies in general but it transforms the very nature of the university education and its "ideal type", as well. Today the universities all over the world absorb new sets of values and model. The main trend is that the university becomes a corporation. The university is no longer regarded as the temple of knowledge but the marketplace of educational services. If it is so, then the principle of economic efficiency dominates all other dimensions of the model. The university is a lonely player on the market and its survival is totally dependent on its capability to be successful by means of producing competitive products. Modern (actually post-modern) system of university management installs the principle of TQM (total quality management) which means that every single "cell" of the university (including individual professors, laboratories, any other entities) is tested for its economic efficiency invested in an overall efficiency of the university. All other characteristics are, by far, secondary. From a perspective of students and their parents (i.e. "clients" in the new terminology), the university is a shopping mall of useful knowledge. Today´s university provides its clientele with an almost unlimited choice of educational products which are often educational hybrids and composite subject matters hidden in attractive packaging. The process of learning today, in public expectation, should be (1) pleasant, (2) easy-going, (3) making a self-satisfactory impression on a client that he/she gets the best possible product and "knows everything" (which is false), (4) widely advertised, etc. (George Ritzer). This situation is understandable because without the masses of clients the university, as a corporation, simply collapses. Such a model of higher education practically eliminates fundamental knowledge by replacing it with useful knowledge. Unpopular fundamental disciplines become the realm of exotic knowledge for a few dedicated individuals, recruited mainly from first generation immigrants, but not for the wide use. The discussed model of a corporate university is not a product of sociological fantasy and science fiction. It exists and works in many American universities and is seriously conceded as a model for the Russian system of higher education. The problem, however, is in the fact, no matter how we like or dislike it, that this model is almost inevitable under the conditions of globalization and comes in one package with it.
Ivanov S., Osipov A. University as a Regional Corporation
University, numbering several thousands of students and staff, is a large organization in the field of education. This article analyses its social facets basing on the panel study (1994–2003) of the Novgorod State University made by the Laboratory of Sociology of this University.
ANTHROPOLOGY OF LAW
Bocharov V. Customary Property Law and the "Criminal State" in Russia: an Attempt at Juridico-Anthropological Analysis
This article analyses the Russian legal culture, which from the author´s point of view is one of the main obstacles on the way of the ongoing reforms in the country. In this culture, the customary law (unwritten law) plays the leading role. The main attention is paid to the analysis of the legal proprietary relations. The author comes to the conclusion that the modern laws in Russia, that guarantee the private property law, do not correspond to the popular law images, hence, the greatest part of the country´s population does not accept them as legitimate. This conflict of law cultures, which is characteristic for Russia, continues in the social and political spheres. The author claims that the most important question is whether the modern public innovations may change the legal consciousness of the Russian people, and he thinks we shall learn the answer in the near future.
Bondarenko S. The Social Myths of "Electronic Democracy"
Within the framework of polemic the author pays attention to mistakes in treatment of terms "virtual", "electronic democracy" and others. In description of political processes in a cyberspace the methods of populism are frequently used while ambiguity of processes calls for large-scale research.
Tysyachnuk ?. The Mobile Sociology of John Urry
This article is a review of recent books of John Urry, founder of mobile sociology. Methods and statements of mobile sociology are discussed. Mobile sociology of John Urry is compared with sociology of networks developed by Manuel Castells. The possible application of mobile sociology´s methodology to the analysis of environmental impacts is analyzed. It is argued that mobile sociology can be helpful in further development of the "treadmill of production" theory of Allan Schnaiberg and "ecological modernization" theory of Arthur Moll. Therefore, mobile sociology will foster development of environmental sociology as a sub-discipline.
NEW BOOKS ON SOCIAL SCIENCES AND HUMANITIES
Bykov I. Webster F. Theories of the Information Society. M.: Aspekt Press, 2004. –– 400 p.
IN MEMORIAM. VALERIY GOLOFAST