The article presents the results of studies of urban youth culture in Kazan and Makhachkala. It draws on the theory of cultural encounters and the cultural scene approach. First, a case study of a Tatar post-folk metal group demonstrates that elements of ethnic culture can be used as a resource for creating communicative ties among young people. Second, a study of anime fans describes the formation of a new cultural style in Makhachkala and the difficulties of interaction of its carriers with a mostly conservative environment.
This paper discusses the perspectives of the post-subcultural term “scene” as a conceptual framework in the study of contemporary youth cultures. In current academic literature, RUSSIAN SOCIOLOGICAL REVIEW. 2017. VOL. 16. NO 2 131 the conceptualization of the concept of “scene” is represented by a range of competing interpretations: the scene as a place, the scene as a space (real or virtual), and the scene as a field of cultural production. The key points of discussion are identified by researchers with the following dimensions: its theatricality, its regularity, authenticity, legitimacy, and a DIY-economy. From our point of view, the “scene” has a number of heuristics advantages which are missing in “subcultural” and post-subcultural concepts. Firstly, it is the connection of group cultural practices and specific places/spaces that allows for the comparison of the configuration of youth communities and cultural coalitions in different geographical locations (cities, countries, or regions). Secondly, the focus here shifts from the analysis of cultural texts and discourses to the implicit rules and meanings according to which individuals produce a “scene” in a particular place/space and time. The concept of “scene” can be used productively in the solidarity approach. This theoretical and methodological composition allows us to analyze the reaction of local youth communities to discursive pressure, the forms of value conflicts typical to modern Russia, and the universal and specific features of local youth group identities.
The article presents the results of the study into the rhetoric of youth in Dagestan about those who joined ISIL. The authors reconstruct the everyday discourse of the “outgo to ISIL” among the youth in the region, presented by Russian authorities and media as one of the leading regions in terms of the number of ISIL followers. The research focus is not on the public forms of the constructing of social problems, but on the everyday talk, in particular, of the claims made in the course of in-depth interviews. The study is based on the constructionist research program developed by Peter Ibarra and John Kitsuse, and focuses on the identification of the discursive ways of problematization used by Dagestan youth in relation to “outgo to ISIL” and “outgoing” young people. The young Dagestanians occasionally use the rhetoric of endangerment, including the metaphor of a “virus”. However, the dominant rhetoric is the rhetoric of unreason. The terms used in the description of those who “went to ISIL” correspond to this idiom’s vocabulary. The image of manipulation which is central for the rhetoric of unreason is detailed by constructing the image of “recruiter”. One of the identified features of the talk of the “outgo to ISIL” was episodic, that is, different from the previous and subsequent phrases and utterances of young people in accordance with the official discourse, supposedly in order to protect themselves from a possible suspicion of sympathy for ISIL. However, the rhetoric of unreason indicates a lack of social distance between young Dagestanians and those who have “went”. Informants express regret and sympathy in relation to their families, and link the “outgo to ISIL” with unemployment. The informants’ utterances suggest the need for the development of social policy, education, and employment opportunities in Dagestan, rather than the strengthening of repressive measures.
The paper explores changes in interpretations and perceptions of masculinity in the context of peripheral and transit societies. Using the qualitative methodology of participant research and semi-structured interviews, I describe this question with the example of youth street workout community in Makhachkala, the capital of the republic of Dagestan (Russia). This republic with a complex ethnic and religious composition is currently going through a socio-economic, political and cultural transformation associated with the transition from socialism to capitalism and inclusion in the globalized world. My thesis is that within the community, young Dagestan men and adolescents solve the problem of successful masculine socialization in conditions of perceived habitual insecurity.
The article analyzes the features of teamwork in the field featuring sociologist with his classical tools of sociological science approach (observation, interviewing) and a director with a camera. Having as an example an ethnographic expedition to the capital of the Republic of Dagestan (Makhachkala, 2016, August-September, studying street workout scene), the possibilities of two-stage field study were demonstrated: on the first – a three-week field observation by a sociologist, on the second – filming a documentary film about youth scenes of Makhachkala.
The subject of our discussion is a methodological reflection on the experience of working together from the perspective of two research approaches: a sociologist using the method of participant observation, and a director who films informants’ daily practices. Both views are presented through the key arguments about the advantages and disadvantages of teamwork.
The format of a documentary film project, implemented in the course of field work, has its common specifics. Currently, a number of authors (Becker, 1976; Collier, Collier, 1987; Harper, 1998), including Russian authors (Zaporozhets, 2012; Pechurina, 2007) pay particular attention to the sociological analysis of photographic materials. Admittedly, sociological cinema has long been in the “shadow” of the main genre of visual sociology that is photography. A vast body of work on visual sociology is devoted mainly to the sociological analysis of photographs and other accomplished multimedia works.
However, recently the question of the importance of working with the cinema or video camera (in different formats) in the sociological field is increasingly being discussed (Brown et al., 2008; Mondada, 2006; Knoblauch et al., 2006). As for the motion pictures, the anthropological cinema with its specific ethnographic description of visual representations (Worth, Adair, 1972; Pink, 2006; Visual Anthropology ..., 2007) is in the focus of attention of scientists. However, for all the similarity of approaches, there are significant differences between the sociological documentary scientific project and the anthropological one.
As for sociological cinema, it can be said that the debate about it is structured by two polar points of view. For some visual researchers, this is a fundamentally new and self-sufficient method of collecting, analyzing and representing sociological material, or even a language for describing social reality (Gottdiener, 1979; Ruby, 1980; MacDougall, 1997; Knoblauch et al., 2006). Others see the documentary film as an additional tool that does not substitute, but complements traditional methods and techniques for collecting, analyzing and representing data (Haider, 2001), or reduce its capabilities to the representation (imaging) of the study results, thus denying the heuristic value of data collected using video camera. Thus, according to Emmison and Smith, “only those visible essences of the social world that are accessible to the unaided eye ... are data for research” (Emmison, Smith, 2012, p. 145). The one pole of sociological reflection about cinema can be conceptualized as the position of a sociologist-filmmaker, and the second as the point of view of a sociologist-field worker who works with the classical tools of qualitative sociology.
The article is intended to reflect the main key points of dual reflection on this interaction: first, through the eyes of a sociologist-filmmaker and then through the eyes of a sociologist-researcher.
The article discusses the map of youth cultural scenes in Makhachkala, the capital of the Republic of Dagestan, and the third largest city in the North Caucasus region of the Russian Federation. The uniqueness of Makhachkala’s youth space is associated with the specific geo-political and cultural circumstances of the history of the republic. This is set against the context of post-Soviet transformation: rising unemployment and severe inequality; the revival of Islam; radical changes in the gender regime, the ethnic and religious composition of Dagestanis; and a complicated political agenda involving the struggle with radicalization, and the growth of a terrorist threat. Thus, we consider it important and timely to study the local youth socialities, which exist in such a contradictory context. The research that underpins the article is focused on two opposing youth scenes in Makhachkala: street workout (inscribed in the context of the local patriarchal regime), and the anime community (symbolically resisting the pressure of social “normativity”). Using the theoretical concept of cultural scenes and a case study approach (in-depth interviews, participant observation, community mapping), the potential to categorize youth that are not centred (that is, who are outside the “core” of the capitalist world-system) are critically considered through the opposition between subcultural and mainstream groups. The key aim of the article is to demonstrate the importance of using the construct of the “other” (that which is alien or dangerous) as the main way to define the more subtle (often latent) structure of group identity and cultural capital of a community. This also describes the intra- and inter- group solidarities and the value conflicts of youth in a complex and contradictory local urban environment. In this case, the process of growing up and the socialization of youth involve the selection of different strategies of acceptance and resistance to the social order, the structure of normativity and images of success.