9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN19 Sociology of Professions

2009-09-04 13:30:00 2009-09-04 15:00:00 Friday, 4 September 13:30 - 15:00 The Formation of Professions Revisited: Emergent Professional Groups Building I, Auditório 2

Social anthropology à la russe: education, scholarly discipline, occupation

The paper focuses on the contradictions in the development of social anthropology as a profession in contemporary Russia. On the one hand, the authors consider Russian higher education where anthropology emerged as a new discipline in early 1990s and was immediately split between several academic ?lineages? associated either with history, sociology, or philosophy. Anthropology curricula at various universities in Russia developed as disconnected and competing with, rather than as complementary to or compatible with each other. While ?historical? clan is engaged into studies of ancient and/or traditional folk cultures, ?sociological? one claims to study modern society, going into subcultures, corporations, markets, family life, looking closely into poverty, ageing, social problems, social policies, etc. On another hand, anthropology in early 1990s became a new name for an established institute within the Russian Academy of science, which was previously closely related to classic ethnography and ethnology. This long tradition of ethnography as a scholarly discipline is based on field research with emphasis on ethnic peculiarities and inter-ethnic conflicts. The third version of social anthropology is a course within the curricula for sociology, philosophy, cultural studies, public relations, etc. Due to a dominating trend in university textbook production, this branch of anthropology is stuck in frameworks of historic materialist concepts of ?ethnogenesis? and/or grand narratives about ?the nature of man?, thus ignoring field research and constructing anthropology as an arm-chair discipline. Yet, no academic debate on the state of art of the discipline exists and the fragmentation of the discipline appeared as a major trend of its development in the country. At the same time, although anthropology is not very familiar to the wider public, the number of students has been gradually increasing during the last sixteen years. However, the Ministry of Education following the task of implementing the Bologna process, has closed down the social anthropology as a university program in order to shorten the number of specialities in the national higher education. The last section of the paper is devoted to an overview of the labor market and the nature of work of social anthropology as a modern occupation in Russia.