9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN12 Environment and Society

2009-09-05 11:00:00 2009-09-05 12:30:00 Saturday, 5 September 11:00 - 12:30 Social and Economic Functions of Nature Building I, Auditório 4

Globalization of Wild Nature As a Perennially "New" Dreamland: The Ugory Project in Kostroma (Russia)

One of the manifestations of post-industrialization in Russian society has been the emergence in the countryside of new rural-urban communities ("aggregations"). Currently, a large number of inhabitants of large industrialized cities own second homes and land property in the countryside. On the surface this process has come about in forced steps on the part of those city dwellers who cannot provide themselves and their families with modern venues of organized rest and recreation (tourism, health spas, etc.), although one could argue that these newly formed "derevenshiki" (country dwellers) could find other ways to satisfy this goal. City culture allows its citizens to perceive the tremendous unrealized potential of the countryside in all aspects of life. Rural inhabitants, having experienced an extended period of social and psychological depression, recognize that they are not in a position to stave off the increasing degradation of the surrounding countryside. It is suggested that new urban-rural aggregations would come to support each other in the formation of new communities. The economic basis of these communities will include niche agriculture (such as tourism or organic agriculture), regulated hunting and fishing resorts, and local handicrafts. Beyond the purely Russian problems of "salvaging the rural economy" appears a new global perspective: removing the antagonism between city and countryside, post-industrial education of both rural and urban social communities (and, in fact, rendering the social distinctions of "rural" and "urban" as almost insignificant in the face of a new social structure), the return of urban inhabitants to nature and rural inhabitants to modernization (without the habitual destruction or unsustainable radical alterations) of the rural way of life. In this sense one may speak of a particular tendency as a tectonic macro-process of modern civilization. For example, in Russia, the Kostroma/Ugory Woods, a huge virgin nature area 500 miles northeast of Moscow in the basin of the Unzha River, is rapidly losing its originality and natural purity under the pressure of globalization. The cellular globalization process not only changes the material decor of life but it radically converts the set of basic values.