Head of the Organising Committee
Sanna Turoma
sanna.turoma [at] helsinki.fi

Conference Coordinator
Kaarina Aitamurto
kaarina.aitamurto [at] helsinki.fi

Conference Secretary
Maarit Elo-Valente
maarit.elo-valente [at] helsinki.fi

Conference Intern
Miikka Piiroinen
miikka.piiroinen [at] helsinki.fi

Conference e-mail:
fcree-aleksconf [at] helsinki.fi

The Aleksanteri Institute

Unioninkatu 33 (P.O. Box 42)
00014 University of Helsinki
phone +358-(0)50-3565 802

aleksanteri [at] helsinki.fi


Past Aleksanteri Conferences

Andrey Makarychev (Tartu University, Estonia)

Ekaterina Kalinina (Swedish Defence University)

Olga Gurova (University of Helsinki, Finland)

Andrej Mitic (New Europe College, Romania)

Conservative (Re)turn and Biopolitics in Russian Culture and Consumption

The "conservative turn" and "biopolitics" became the newest "buzzwords" in the Russian studies. Andrey Makarychev and Sergey Medvedev wrote that "in Putin's third term, official rhetoric has become a normative, moralizing discourse promoting Russian traditional values as opposed to the 'moral decay' of the West" (Makarychev, Medvedev, 2015:45). They have pointed out to the "biopolitical turn" in Russian politics– "a redefining of the boundaries of the Russian political community and extension of state sovereignty into private lives–is part of the authoritarian drift of the Russian political regime […]" (Makarychev, Medvedev, 2015:45).

Within this discourse conservative ideology and "conservative family values are proclaimed to be the national idea and spiritual bond of the Russians, and grounds for opposing the West" (Makarychev, Medvedev, 2015:45). In contemporary Putin's Russia biopolitics, which is usually referred to as a relatively soft (but rather pervasive) technology of power and governance targeted at such areas as health, sanitation, birthrate, and sexuality, is closely connected to the propaganda of conservative agenda, which is focused at the guarding of the dominant socio-political order. However, the studies of the current Russian conservative ideological production should bear in mind that contemporary Russian conservative thought not only has its "guardening" function of the political status quo, but also as a strategic response, it combines and toys with the whole conservative repertoire from 'reactionary conservatism' (which pleads for the turning back into a certain point of history which is considered ideal-'the golden age'), through 'evolutionary-reformistic conservatism' (which recognizes the necessity of the cautious changes) to 'revolutionary conservatism' (when conservatives cease to see current dominant ideas and institutions worth preserving and search for the total reconstruction of society in accordance with the certain value algorithm). It is a complex situational strategy, the narrative of turning and spinning the components of traditional conservative elements, which in today gains almost ironic proportions (Mitic, unpublished). Contemporary Russian conservative turn is not simple method of retaining power, without reference to the values, but it is de facto return to the oceanic Russian conservative intellectual thought and values, which played the major role in the construction of the Russian identity so far. Thus, the newest "conservative turn" is not excess, but the regularity of Russian (intellectual) history (Mitic, unpublished).

While the questions of biopolitcs and conservative turn were discussed in the spheres of domestic and foreign political agendas, the spheres of cultural production and consumption are still under-represented in the studies. Hence, this panel seeks to fill in this gap by attracting attention to conservative turn and biopolitical agenda in practices of consumption and production of creative content.