The article examines the recent ‘schism’ in Eastern Orthodoxy to show how religion and politics are strongly intertwined in disputes over territory and sovereignty. It argues that two logics are at play in this conflict: one grounded in the theological‐political concept of ‘canonical territory’, the other in the notion of ‘communion’ at the basis of the Christian fellowship. The first is deployed in claims for national sovereignty as well as imperial domination, while the latter can make or break communities of faith. Drawing a parallel between the post‐socialist revival of religion in Ukraine and the current mobilization on the ground, it shows how these contradictory logics shape the fate of people, churches and states.
In this paper, drawing on empirical evidence from Russian society, the authors seek to analyze the ways in which ordinary people can overcome a perceived gap between “high” politics and their everyday experiences. We argue that the concept of everyday politics is not enough to prepare the ground for politicization in everyday life, at least in highly dismantled society. In examining ethnographic case studies of people who consider themselves apolitical, the paper introduces the concept of “pragmatic politics,” which is defined as an activity of inscribing the broader world within the sensitive everyday experience. The examined case studies speak to four different modes of everyday politics that reveal various modalities of pragmatic politics.
The use of social network sites helps people to make and maintain social ties accumulating social capital, which is increasingly important for individual success. There is a wide variation in the amount and structure of online ties, and to some extent this variation is contingent on specific online user behaviors which are to date under-researched. In this work, we examine an entire city-bounded friendship network (N = 194,601) extracted from VK social network site to explore how specific online user behaviors are related to structural social capital in a network of geographically proximate ties. Social network analysis was used to evaluate individual social capital as a network asset, and multiple regression analysis–to determine and estimate the effects of online user behaviors on social capital. The analysis reveals that the graph is both clustered and highly centralized which suggests the presence of a hierarchical structure: a set of sub-communities united by city-level hubs. Against this background, membership in more online groups is positively associated with user’s brokerage in the location-bounded network. Additionally, the share of local friends, the number of received likes and the duration of SNS use are associated with social capital indicators. This contributes to the literature on the formation of online social capital, examined at the level of a large and geographically localized population.
In practice, the critical step in building machine learning models of big data (BD) is costly in terms of time and the computing resources procedure of parameter tuning with a grid search. Due to the size, BD are comparable to mesoscopic physical systems. Hence, methods of statistical physics could be applied to BD. The paper shows that topic modeling demonstrates self-similar behavior under the condition of a varying number of clusters. Such behavior allows using a renormalization technique. The combination of a renormalization procedure with the Rényi entropy approach allows for fast searching of the optimal number of clusters. In this paper, the renormalization procedure is developed for the Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA) model with a variational Expectation-Maximization algorithm. The experiments were conducted on two document collections with a known number of clusters in two languages. The paper presents results for three versions of the renormalization procedure: (1) a renormalization with the random merging of clusters, (2) a renormalization based on minimal values of Kullback–Leibler divergence and (3) a renormalization with merging clusters with minimal values of Rényi entropy. The paper shows that the renormalization procedure allows finding the optimal number of topics 26 times faster than grid search without significant loss of quality.
In this article we analyze the independent Tatar rap scene in two relevant contexts: the globalization of this musical culture, and the post-Soviet nation-building efforts in the Republic of Tatarstan (Russian Federation). Having analyzed 29 in-depth biographical interviews with young rap scene participants and diary entries obtained in the course of a one-month-long participant observation, we conclude that the Tatar rap scene is a special case in the Tatar urban youth culture shaped by the younger generation of Tatar-speaking intelligentsia (humanities graduates and creative professionals) in opposition to both the cultural policy of Russification of the imperial center (Moscow) and the folklorized version of the Soviet Tatar culture.
Willusionists believe that science has proven that free will is an illusion. We propose a thought experiment demonstrating that it is possible to spot the difference between having merely an illusion of free will and having some real ability. The experiment involves a fictional character, Dr. Strangelove, who suffers from alien hand syndrome in his right hand. He asks another fictional character, Mary, who is a world-renowned neuroscientist and a willusionist, to return his free will. Mary thinks that Strangelove confuses free will with the illusion of free will, and she can only return the latter to him. To do so, she performs brain surgery that leaves intact the real causal roots of the alien hand movements but creates an illusion of control. Even though Strangelove may be artificially happy with the results, a third-party observer would notice that Strangelove has been tricked into believing that he is in control of the movements of his hand. If the difference between the illusion of control of his right hand and the way he controls his left hand is real and not imaginary, then it is misleading to call free will an illusion.
Clustering large and heterogeneous data of user-profiles from social media is problematic as the problem of finding the optimal number of clusters becomes more critical than for clustering smaller and homo- geneous data. We propose a new approach based on the deformed R ́enyi entropy for determining the optimal number of clusters in hierarchical clustering of user-profile data. Our results show that this approach allows us to estimate R ́enyi entropy for each level of a hierarchical model and find the entropy minimum (information maximum). Our approach also shows that solutions with the lowest and the highest number of clusters correspond to the entropy maxima (minima of information).
This introduction aims to present the general outline of the special issue and to elaborate on the context against which most of the studies were conducted. We discuss the political, economic, social, and historical processes that contribute to shape Russia; this helps to understand local activism and protest in contemporary Russia. Since this context is relevant to all the papers, the readers would benefit from reading this introduction first. The second part of this paper introduces the contribution that the special issue makes to the study of activism and politics, with papers analyzing different aspects and kinds of activism in a variety of circumstances and settings. A central question common to all papers is the problem of politicization which is treated at the intersection between social and political inequalities, the experience of everyday life and political imagination.
This paper focuses on the Tsoi Wall in Moscow, an iconic place on Russia’s music map that appeared in Moscow in 1990 in memory of the cult Soviet rock musician Viktor Tsoi, to develop a framework for studying non-auratic music place—that is, places that are not connected with the biographies of musicians or musical events, but emerge directly from the experiences of visitors and fans. These places are constantly negotiated and only lightly formalized, but are nevertheless enduring. To analyze this type of place, we propose a concept of institutionalization “in becoming.” The case of the Tsoi Wall reveals that light formalization (vague and changing positions and rules, and openness to different interpretations of a place and ways of using it) leads to the recognition of the place as a significant one and to its popularity. We put institutionalization “in becoming” in a wider context and juxtapose it with well-studied musical places in Europe and the US.
The role of emotions in social movements and mobilization has been an important focus of recent research, but the emotional mechanisms producing apathy and non-participation remain under studied. This article explores the thinking and feeling processes involved in the production of apolitical attitudes, paying particular attention to their social and cultural context. Cultural norms of appropriateness and emotional expression can hinder or boost the emotions involved in the mobilizing processes. Based on 60 interviews with young people in two Russian cities, collected during and in the aftermath of the anti-regime protests of 2011–12, I explore the apathy syndrome—a combination of emotional mechanisms and cultural norms that produce political apathy. Personal frustrating experiences develop into long-term cynicism and disbelief in the efficacy of collective action, a process exacerbated by the transmission of apathy in families and educational institutions, as well as by cultural norms of appropriate emotions. Cultural clichés and dissociation from others help people cope with the trap and justify inaction.
We had studied the influence of physical fatigue induced by 5 min Harvard step test onto the strength of well-known visual illusions - Müller-Lyer and Ponzo. The responses of the volunteers were registered either in visual or in sensorimotor domain. The results did not show any significant changes in illusion’s strength and speed of hand movements on the stimuli shafts between control and experimental group. Thus we propose that the dependence of the illusion’s strength on the physical load or stress reported in some works is due to experimental design but not to the physical load by itself.
A growing number of researchers claim that our traditional views about what cognitive processes are and where they take place must be revised. According to these researchers, the cognitive processes that make up our minds can reach beyond the traditionally conceived boundaries of individual organisms to include as proper parts aspects of the organism’s physical, technological, and socio-cultural environment. This idea is known as the Extended Mind Thesis (EMT). In recent years a fruitful debate about the scope and validity of EMT has emerged both within the empirical sciences (e.g. psychology and neuroscience) and in the philosophy of mind. The goal of this chapter is to investigate the empirical support for EMT by clarifying the extent to which researchers in philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience in their everyday work and practice already implicitly assume extended cognition ideas or even actively operate with them.
Positive mental health is considered to be a significant predictor of health and longevity; however, our understanding of the ways in which this important characteristic is represented in users’ behavior on social networking sites is limited. The goal of this study was to explore associations between positive mental health and language used in online communication in a large sample of Russian Facebook users. The five-item World Health Organization Well-Being Index (WHO-5) was used as a self-report measure of well-being. Morphological, sentiment, and semantic analyses were performed for linguistic data. The total of 6,724 participants completed the questionnaire and linguistic data were available for 1,972. Participants’ mean age was 45.7 years (SD = 11.6 years); 73.4% were female. The dataset included 15,281 posts, with an average of 7.67 (SD = 5.69) posts per participant. Mean WHO-5 score was 60.0 (SD = 19.1), with female participants exhibiting lower scores. Use of negative sentiment words and impersonal predicates (“should statements”) demonstrated an inverse association with the WHO-5 scores. No significant correlation was found between the use of positive sentiment words and the WHO-5 scores. This study expands current understanding of the association between positive mental health and language use in online communication by employing data from a non-Western sample.
There has been a recent upsurge of interest to the Krushchev’s Thaw as not only the period of ideological liberalization, but also as a moment of broadening and deepening of social control. Yet the primary Soviet institution responsible for the social control of children and adolescents, the school, has been largely overlooked in this respect. In this paper I position the school disciplinary practices of the Thaw in the context of the high‐profile discursive and institutional trends of the epoch, including hooliganism, obshchestvennost’, and outsourcing of social control to vigilante brigades and comrades’ courts. The data come from a case study of documented disciplinary action in one rank‐and‐file school in the town of Toropetz in 1953–68. The part played by the school in the ensemble of formal and informal institutions that regulated adolescent behavior is analyzed by the systematic inquiry into the accusations worded, punishments meted out, and references to other institutions made in the disciplinary records. I argue that one of the effects of the broadening of horizontal supervision during the Thaw was a more pronounced in‐school disciplinary reaction to the out‐of‐school infringements. Seeing the school as the primary institution to exert peer pressure on the adolescent and his parents, as obshchestvennost’, the teachers felt the urge to duplicate the functions of the official penal system by their own quasi‐judicial disciplinary procedures.
Exposure to violence has been shown to negatively affect mental health and well-being. The goal of this Facebook-based study was to describe the rates of exposure to violence in a sample of Russian adults and to assess the impact of these experiences on subjective well-being and victimization-related psychological distress. Three types of victimization were assessed: physical assault by a stranger, physical assault by someone known to victim, and nonconsensual sexual experiences. The 5-item World Health Organization Well-Being Index (WHO-5) was used to assess subjective well-being, and Primary Care PTSD Screen (PC-PTSD) was employed as an indicator of victimization-related psychological distress. Data were obtained from 6,724 Russian-speaking Facebook users. Significant levels of lifetime victimization were reported by the study participants. Lifetime physical assault by a stranger, physical assault by someone known to victim, and sexual assault were reported by 56.9%, 64.2%, and 54.1% of respondents, respectively. Respondents exposed to violence were more likely to report posttraumatic stress symptoms and lower levels of subjective well-being. Participants who were exposed to at least one type of violence were more likely to experience symptoms of traumatic stress (U = 1,794,250.50, p < .001, d = 0.35). Exposure to multiple forms of violence was associated with more severe traumatic stress symptoms (rs = .257, p < .001). Well-being scores were significantly lower among participants exposed to violence (t = 8.37, p < .001, d = 0.31). The study demonstrated that violence exposure is associated with reduced well-being among Russian adults. Our findings highlight the negative impact of violence exposure on subjective well-being and underscore the necessity to develop programs addressing violence exposure in Russian populations.
Transformations in the linguistic makeup of Russian cities resulting from massive— in comparison with the Soviet period—migration of nonnative speakers, often with low proficiency in Russian, can be fast; acknowledgement of these transformations by society, however, demands more time. Attitudes to actual urban multilingualism are determined by the domineering monolingual ideology demanding communication only in Russian. The social inequality of native and nonnative speakers becomes apparent if we consider how different languages spoken in the city are reflected in its linguistic landscape, in other words, different written signs, both formal and informal. Saint Petersburg’s linguistic landscape underrepresents the languages of labor migrants; on the rare occasions when these languages are used, signs in Chinese (not targeting Chinese tourists) and in Uzbek can be found in places hidden from the eyes of general public. However, this trend is gradually changing; new practices drawing local citizens and migrants into interactions are emerging. This article aims at revealing the situations making migrants and their multilingual existence visible to the receiving community; it focuses not on the exclusion of migrants from the linguistic landscape but rather on new developing practices of contact and urban domains favoring such practices. The article is based on Saint Petersburg’s linguistic landscape (signs, unofficial announcements, advertising, etc.) as a primary source; as additional sources it uses interviews with labor migrants and focus groups with local citizens discussing multilingual communication, everyday linguistic practices, and public representation of languages in urban space. Ethnographic linguistic landscape analysis (ELLA), focusing on the context of communication, is used as a methodological approach to analyzing the data.
This article reveals that, despite Russian regions being very different from each other when it comes to a great many socio-economic and socio-cultural properties (population income level and living standards, various features of the socio-cultural environment, social optimism, degree of religiosity and so on), those who live in regions far removed from the capital cities, given their lower level of personal income, tend to be more satisfied with their lives and demonstrate a higher level of social wellbeing, according to data from various sociological surveys. Based on empirical data, the authors argue that material aspects are not the only factors which affect subjective wellbeing in any given region. The goal of the study is to analyze the differentiation in the level of subjective wellbeing of the population of various Russian regions, which implies identifying and comparatively analyzing those factors which help interpret these differences. The primary research method is regression analysis of data from sociological surveys conducted in 2012 using the World Values Survey method in nine regions and towns of federal significance: Moscow, SaintPetersburg, Leningrad Province, Tambov, Tatarstan Republic, Chuvashia Republic, the Altai Krai, Kabardino-Balkaria Republic, Bashkortostan Republic. The analysis showed that there is indeed a connection between one’s personal income level and their subjective wellbeing, while there is no such connection between one’s subjective wellbeing and how wealthy their region is. This could be explained by the fact that people are more concerned with their personal income level than their region’s income. Aside from income level, there are other factors which determine subjective wellbeing in any given region. Moscow is considered to be the wealthiest region, however, it also has the highest level of income inequality. Both individual income and income level in comparison to the reference group considerably affect respondents’ subjective wellbeing, regardless of their region of residence. However, individual income has a stronger influence. That said it is in Moscow where subjective evaluation of one’s income level and satisfaction with one’s material status affect subjective wellbeing to the greatest extent, which is due to the fact that in Moscow both living standards and one’s sense of subjective inequality are somewhat higher. The influence of other socio-demographic factors also varies from region to region. For the most part this study confirms Ronald Inglehart’s concept of material factors playing a significant role in subjective wellbeing
The subject of this article is the debate of Gadamer and Habermas about the nature of critical thinking, the relationship between freedom and authority, the individual and traditions, documented in the book “Hermeneutics and criticism of ideology” (1971). Central to the author is the question: «What understanding of critical thinking would allow us to gain a higher degree of resistance to ideology?» Approaching the answer to this question is carried out as several tasks are successively resolved. First, the author clarifies the meaning and significance of the key concepts of “ideology” and “criticism” in the critical theory of Frankfurt School and philosophical hermeneutics. Thanks to these explanations, becomes clear the basis for the possibility of a productive polemic between philosophical hermeneutics and critical theory. Secondly, in the analysis of the main lines of criticism by Habermas against the hermeneutical project of Gadamer, the author explicates the strengths and weaknesses in the argumentation of the opposing parties. The focus here is the problem of the relationship of critical reflection with prejudice, authority and tradition, the problem of theoretical maturity and methodological support of hermeneutics, the problem of forming a basic consensus of understanding and interaction. Based on a comparative analysis of the arguments and counterarguments of Gadamer and Habermas, the author shows the non-trivial nature of critical thinking and reveals new aspects in understanding the concept of criticism of ideology. The result of the comparative analysis is the idea of an integrative concept of ideology criticism, which allows productive use of the strengths of the critical and hermeneutic approaches, and thereby provide a higher resistance to ideology at the collective and individual levels.
The article deals with the analysis of foster parents discursive practices of making family. The approach to family as a discourse is used for the theoretical conceptualization of parental narratives about fostering. Foster parenthood is understood as a discursive construction, which contains normative beliefs about fostering, motives of decision about fostering, and descriptions of foster care practices. The empirical base of the research consists of texts of 469 diaries of foster parents, collected in frame of the all-Russian competition of foster families diaries “Our stories” (Elena & Gennagy Timchenko Foundation, 2015–2017). The biographical narratives were analyzed in two levels: 1) normative commonly shared beliefs about family and fostering; 2) individual strategies of narrative identity construction. As the result of analysis three main meaningful elements of parental individual narratives were found: 1) discourses about what is foster parenting; 2) justification strategies of decisions about foster parenting; 3) descriptions of making family practices. The general outcome of the article is the conclusion that making family is performed on the level of individual believes about what family and parenting are. The specific history of family relations and interactions between family members influences the making family process. All these individual discursive practices are inscribed in a broad socio-cultural context of normative beliefs.