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

Elena Ostrovskaya (Saint Petersburg State University, Russia)

Vladimir Kozlovskii (Saint Petersburg State University, Russia)

Ruslan Braslavskii (Sociological Institute of Russian Academy of Sciences)

Larisa Titarenko (Belarus State University) & Anna Shirokanova (Higher School of Economics, Russia)

Panel abstract: Civilizational Perspectives of Russian Culture, Politics and Society - II

Civilizational approaches to Russian culture, politics and society have been associated mostly with theories of 'historical cycles' worked out in late 19th and the first half of the 20th century. More recently a considerable attention has been devoted to different versions of 'neo-Eurasianism'. In addition, the notion of 'clash of civilizations' proposed by Samuel Huntington became prominent in the political discourse in Russia in the 1990s. At the same time the concept of civilization is discussed widely in today's historical sociology. A specific school of 'civilizational analysis' that draws on the ideas of Shmuel Eisenstadt emerged in the end of the 1990s. This perspective has already influenced some new trends in sociology of religion, political sociology and international relations theory. The panel seeks to demonstrate the relevance of a new wave of civilizational analysis for understanding contemporary Russian culture, politics and society.

Elena Ostrovskaya's paper "Multiple Modernities Through the Lens of Religion: The Case of Multiple Religiosity of St.-Petersburg Jews" deals with an analysis of empirical research of Jews' multiple religiosity. The author depicts the multiple understanding of modernity through religious commitment, self-reference, identities, and Weltanschauung of the St.-Petersburg's Jewish communities and organizations such as New Orthodox, Chabad Lubavich Chassidim and Lithuans. In the case of Jewish organizations the multiple visions of modernity can be found among religious Russian Jews considering themselves tied to the Land of Israel but still reflecting reality in terms of the Soviet mass culture, as well as among Jewish American and Israeli families staying in Russia and adapting to actual secular culture. The author reveals that there is no single pattern of modern Jewish religiosity or common understanding of modernity. Moreover, Russian Jews respond to the global expansion of modernity by reformulating their understanding of the Jewish tradition in an attempt to work out their own particular civilizational versions of modernity.

Vladimir Kozlovskii's paper "Regimes of Civilizational Order in Contemporary Russian Society" addresses the problem of formation of a specific civilizational order in post-Soviet Russia as a new configuration of the forms of modernity. It is argued that explanations of the dynamics of Russian society are often based on the idea of predestination of the trajectory of its development that is caused either by the universal logic of modernization and globalization or by persistence of the basic cultural programme or matrix which is reproduced in social practices. The multiple modernities theory is discussed in the paper as a new perspective that allows us to overcome some of the problems with the predominant approaches to Russian modernization.

Ruslan Braslavskii's paper "Interpretative Patterns of Russian Modernization: Civilizational Analysis" focuses on the prevailing models of economic rationality and rationalization in post-Soviet Russian society. The paper considers from the perspective of civilizational analysis the crisis of the paradigm of 'economic rationality' in internal and international politics of the Russian state.

Larisa Titarenko's and Anna Shirokanova's paper "Perspectives of Using the East Asian Experience in Russian Modernization" draws on Johann Arnason's analysis of the multiple forms of modernity. In recent Russian literature Arnason's approach to the Soviet model of modernity has been discussed. However, this scholar considered the Soviet case before the full elaboration of his civilizational theory. Later he addressed the civilizational dynamics of East Asian societies. It is argued that some elements of Arnason's analysis of these societies can be relevant for Russian studies as well.