9th Conference European Sociological Association

RS16 Russia and Its European Identity

2009-09-03 09:00:00 2009-09-03 10:30:00 Thursday, 3 September 09:00 - 10:30 Russia and the World: Shifting Perspectives and Global Realities Building II, C4.05

Pre/post Globalization in Today's Russia

Today's Russia is routinely described by social scientists as being far behind other industrial countries on the scale of modern globalization. However, the complex nature of contemporary pre/post-globalization implies a more diverse and multi-dimensional analysis and prognosis. From this perspective all societies, including Russia, may be expected to demonstrate evidence of hidden (or open) globalization at the cellular or micro-level. In other words, according to the model of pervasive globalization, even the more backward social entities should demonstrate new trans-national, transitional, and future-oriented qualities. (According to the following proposed model, certain transitional social phenomena may simultaneously contain both pre- and post-globalization characteristics.) Social background. Democracy in contemporary Russia is struggling with many difficulties and obstructions, especially in the rural areas, where the state of democracy and civil society is at best, an emergent, or often, a pseudo-democracy. Several factors may partially account for such conditions, namely, a comparatively low educational and socio-cultural level of the general population; insulation and lack of access to open communication channels and exchanges beyond parochial interests; the orientation of local communities towards isolated patterns of family household economy; dedication to specific forms of cultural and recreational activities discouraging individuals from taking an active role in the political process; the controlling of personal freedoms on the part of local bureaucracies resulting in the population's dependency on financial and administrative authorities ("nachalniks"). Plans for the creation of a civil society based on democratic ideals and imported models of economic and political behaviour have proved impractical in their Utopianism. This process has reached a dead end by not taking into consideration the ingrained mentality and everyday life of the population. Clearly, an alternative method is required: "gradual adaptation" of the population to democratic institutions, activisation of local communities on a "grass roots" level, in order to bring about profound, phenomenological structures which respect traditions while incorporating modern democratic patterns. It is possible to propose that ?transit? is complicated and contradictorily develops in the direction of global communities, and not in another direction.