Institute of Sociology
of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Bulletin of the Institute of Sociology (Vestnik instituta sotziologii)

2015, No 14

СONTENTS

 

Khaliy I. A. Presenting This Issue (9-11)

 

The Theme of the Issue: Sociology of Food

Kravtchenko S. A. Paradoxes of Time’s Arrow: Birth of Non-food (13-29)

Abstract. Food not only meets primary, innate, genetically determined instinctive requirements of people, but forms socio‑cultural conditions of their existence. The food itself influenced by the factor of Time’s Arrow that was substantiated by I. Prigozhin, Nobel Prize Winner, is developing faster and in a more complex way. Today it becomes more and more evident that food dynamics is placed in the context of natural and social dynamics. The author proposes a postulate of food Time’s Arrow: We eat things consistent with the society in which we live with all its achievements, risks and vulnerabilities, and also consistent with nature, or, to be more exact, socio‑natural environment. With all the achievements of human civilization, food production bears some unintended consequences fraught with new vulnerabilities both for a human being and for society and nature. Socio‑cultural dynamics of food, by virtue of a number of bifurcation has brought about «liquid» food and generated the so called non‑food, i.e. a social form produced in a centralized way and controlled globally, being however devoid of specific social and cultural context. From now on «liquid» food and non‑food dominate in the human diet causing new risks and vulnerabilities for people. The author shows and analyzes factors favorable for non‑food production. They are as follows: globalization, growbalization, industrialization and «green» revolution, «alien food» production, gamization that generated performative non‑food, detraditionalization. The main forces contributing to preservation and dissemination of food as it is, are in the author’s point of view the process of glocalization, de‑McDonaldization and bserving dietary traditions. The author thinks that the time has come to rediscover food as one of the most important biological, social and cultural values for a human being. Today it is necessary not only to produce food, but to fight for reserving its authenticity. It is necessary to support new social movements, free from global networking domination and advocating «food democracy» and quality control of the food market on the part of townsfolk.

Keywords. «Time’s Arrow», globalization, glocalization, nothing, something, food, «liquid» food, non‑food

Zarubina N. N. Ascetic, Disciplinary and Self-limiting Practices as a Factor of Dietary Strategies in Modern Russia (30-48)

Abstract. This article analyzes ascetic and disciplinary practices and principles of self‑restraint applied by modern Russian people to the elaboration of dietary strategies. Socialization of dietary practices is related to their rationalization and regulation on the basis of standards and values having cultural and social nature. Such standards are: methods of religious ascesis, prescribing food limitations as prerequisites of spiritual purification; disciplinary practices regulating space, time, technology of nutrition; principles of self‑restraint due to the imperatives of maintaining the socially approved physicality. In modern Russia following the norms of the Orthodox asceticism is not always dictated by institutional religiosity and belonging to the Church. It can be motivated by factors of identity, tradition, common views of nutrition physiology. Disciplinary practices were spread to nutrition in the context of the modern society institution, such as industrial enterprise, school of medical facility. Disciplinary practices reflect the institutionalized dominance of society over an individual. They are today undermined in Russia as in other countries, particularly by the spread of fast food allowing to liberate nutrition from the rigid space‑time constraints. Self‑restraint practices in nutrition are popularized under the influence of ideal body image, which is the result of conscious efforts as opposed to natural physicality. Regulatory physicality becomes a form of society control over its members on the basis of their own choice in favor of self‑restraints, healthy nutrition and diet. There is a contradiction in our country between the traditional food habits aimed at satiety and the imperative of self‑restraint for the purposes of forming a healthy and slim body. This contradiction is aggravated by the loosening of institutional control over regulatory physicality and consumer hedonistic values. The majority of Russians still solve this contradiction in favor of traditional nutrition practices. This is stimulated by medicalization of everyday life presenting means of maintaining regulatory physicality without restraints in eating

Keywords. nutrition practices, ascesis, disciplinary practices, self‑restraint, regulatory physicality

Karpova D. N. Food and Counterculture or Anti-capitalist Movement (65-73)

Abstract. The article considers food problem as a marker of the contemporary capitalist society based on the principles of overconsumption, fast food, standardization and predictability. The author analyzes the McDonaldized society concept put forward by the American sociologist G. Ritzer from the perspective of eating dehumanization in the process of social interaction and communication between people. It is noted that numerous protest movements are being organized in response to global trends of McDonaldized society. The first of them is the Italian movement of Slow Food as opposed to the global transmission of McDonald’s principles. The second one is freeganism (i.e. search for food and things in the trash); it is an anti‑capitalist protest movement aimed at drawing attention to the acute problems of hunger, poverty and excessive food production. The author presents a sociological interpretation of the described protest movements and analyzes this philosophy in the USA and in European countries. However, freeganism principles, ideas and philosophy have found response in Russia as well. The test provides the analysis of the content of networks records made by freegans, i.e. users of the Russian social network VKontakte, which reveals two distinct categories of population in relation to the search of things in the trash. This analysis allows to make judgment of the certain confidence level, as well as of social and civic activity of counter‑cultural freegans’ movement. The first category involves young people from 25 to 36 who see nothing shameful in the freeganism movement. The second category involves young people of the same age group, who are reticent and prefer to remain invisible while searching things in the trash.

Keywords. food, counterculture, freeganism, trash diving, slow food

 

On the Methodology of Scientific Researches

Mikhaylionok O. M. Socio-Political Accord in the Context of Democratic Consolidation (Analytical Review) (74-91)

Abstract. The article analyzes theoretical aspects of democratic consolidation and the related problems of socio‑political accord. Democratic reforms are in many respects linked with the success of democratic consolidation, the main result of which consists in the achievement of unity between the society and government, as well as the consensus of goals, objectives and tendencies for the society having chosen the democratic way of development. In modern Russia, solving the problem of social accord achievement is now at a search phase, like the objective of implementing democratic consolidation on the whole. Today, therefore, it is essential to enact all the opportunities for a more objective examining of the situation and of democratic consolidation mechanisms, to characterize the features of this process current phase, to analyze the specifics of State, of political elite’s and political parties’ activities in the process of democratization of Russia. The social (or democratic) consolidation as a political phenomenon is conceived as a process of achieving all the citizens’ mental accord in relation to understanding strategic development problems, as well as directions and goals of this development. This political accord (consolidation) of the society should result in positive changes of governmental, political and social relations and structures. The consolidation will stimulate the development of our society and will lead to the unity of citizens with different ethnic and confessional affiliation, and with various social and cultural statuses. Moreover, the consolidation will result in the support of existing political system and in the general approval of positive changes taking place. Process and result of consolidation suggest that citizens and government subjects on different levels should come to a consensus to make social activity focused and consistent. The political compromise can be achieved only on basis of the citizens’ and political actors’ conscientious attitude, their voluntary and convinced actions. The consolidation is impossible without the coordinated activity of government structures and the bulk of the population. The author shows that the consolidation serves to strengthen both government relations and the whole society integration, and thus to enhance the country’s ability to repel external and internal threats, to preserve and fortify the Russian state sovereignty and the foundations of the social organism.

Keywords. socio‑political accord, democracy, democratic consolidation, consensus

 

Interethnic Accord

Arutyunova E. M. Interethnic Accord in the Context of Some Socio-political Orientations (According to Moscow Region Experience) (92-105)

Abstract. The article1 based on the sociological research of interethnic accord problems data, analyzes some socio‑political orientations of Muscovites, along with the issues of interethnic interaction, as well as the influence of conscience status in socio‑political sphere on their consolidation as the Russian nation. The empirical basis of the article is a sociological research oriented at a multilateral study of the interethnic accord problem in the Russian region, in Moscow at this stage. This work is carried out by the Research Center of Cross‑National Relations within the Sociology Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The overall situation in the sphere under research is characterized in today’s Russia by the Russians’ low public and political activity, poor interest for human rights observation and values of civil liberties. Our data collected in Moscow confirm this fact and show in addition the maximal urge for equality before the law. There are two key items for analysis in the article, i.e. choice of freedom and attitude of Russians towards the Western way of life. Making choice between such values as freedom and material well‑being, our respondents often give priority to the former, but the concept of freedom in Russian cultural context does not always coincide with its understanding in the spirit of liberal values. The majority of respondents are also of the opinion that Russia does not need the Western way of life. These items were analyzed in relation to such orientations of interethnic interaction as willingness to accept people of other ethnic origin in different life spheres, readiness to protect their national interests (by any and all means), admissibility of violence in the event of encroachment upon national interests, attitude towards the limitation of people’s from other Russian Republics coming to Moscow, the Russians’ status in the country. The key conclusion of the article is that the orientation for freedom as opposed to material well‑being, and the opinion that Russia should live according to the same rules as Western countries, are consistent with more positive sets in the interethnic interaction.

Keywords. interethnic accord, identity, orientations, socio‑political orientations

 

Discussion Platform

Claudia von Werlhof. Globalization and Neo-liberalism: Is there any Alternative to Pillage of the Earth? (106-139)

Abstract. This article was not initially written for the Russian audience. It became a result of many years’ critical analysis of economy, ecology, politics and patriarchal character of “world capitalist system” and its dependence on technology. This world system however includes socialism, since socialism/communism, like their successors, operate on the same scientific, technological and nature destructive basis of the international “industrial system”, which was formed in Europe during the Modern Times, and since then has been distributed and “globalized” as the modern civilization in the course of “progress and development”. Therefore, the author’s criticism of “neo‑liberalism” as a modern ideological and political form of world capitalist system cannot drive the reader to the conclusion that every criticism of liberalism in today’s Russia has the same content. On the contrary, the author stands for abandoning the industrial system in all of its political versions, until it destroys the entire planet. It equally applies to such countries as Russia and China. The only virtual alternative to the industrial system in modern world are southern, usually autochthonous, or formerly colonized societies existing at present mostly in Latin America, striving to break with contemporary civilizations of the North, i.e. the West and the East, and, as far as it is possible, really break their ties with them. Moreover, this article was first published in German as early as in 2007, and then translated into English and Spanish. Many people evidently found in it the explanation of the modern world situation, and so, it was proposed to the author to publish it in other languages as well. For this reason, the text was amended with such changes occurring in the world as numerous new wars, “terror” as a new form of Western policy, as well as the US attempts to establish the New World Order via agreements about supposedly “free trade” (TTIP, TPP, CETA and TISA). The article was written after the open panel discussion on the “Alternatives to Neo‑liberal Globalization”, attended by Ferdinand Lacina, former Austrian Minister of Finance, who then was at the head of BAWAG Bank and now supervises the National Bank of Austria, Ewald Nowotny and me. The discussion was held within the framework of “Vienna Lectures”, during the Dellinger Symposium in the Chamber of Labor (Vienna, Austria, May 21, 2005).

Keywords. globalization, neoliberalism, alternative, autochthonous societies, world capitalist system

 

Scientific Events

Tikhonov A. V., Merzliakov A. A., Bogdanov V. S. Realization of Cluster Politics in the Russian Federation Regions (Workshop on the Research Results) (140-157)

Abstract. The article outlines the main provisions of the Methodological Workshop in the Center of Sociology of Management and of Social Technologies within the Sociology Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences. It was dedicated to the research within the framework of the RAS Presidium Program “Forecast of Russia’s Technological Development in View of Innovated World Processes of Integration: Technical, Economic and Institutional Aspects”. The above mentioned study was aimed at the elaboration and testing of sociological tools of remote control over the cluster policy. The authors conducted this work in three stages: 1. The development of analysis methodology and methods of remote collection of primary data (2012). 2. Analysis of the source database in 83 country regions and in oil and gas industry (2013). 3. Verification of data and findings based on the experts’ on-line poll (2014). The article presents the main results of each stage and makes a conclusion about the possibility of this methodology use not only for scientific but also for practical purposes.

Keywords. innovative modernization, cluster politics, cluster typology, remote analysis, sociotechnical technology, basic variables, level of cluster development, barriers of cluster development, mapping of regions and industries