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Location & Connections


Visiting Fellows 2013-2014

Soboleva, Maja, Institute of Philosophy, Philipps-University of Marburg, Germany

“"Homo Sovieticus": The Origin of a New Soviet Man”
(October, 2013)

Maja Soboleva is a Private Lecturer and Research Associate of Philosophy at Philipps-University of Marburg, Germany. She studied chemistry in St. Petersburg and philosophy in St. Petersburg, Erlangen and Marburg. She received her doctoral degree in chemistry in 1992, a PhD in philosophy in 2000 and habilitated in philosophy in St. Petersburg in 2005. She was the Mildred Miller Fort Foundation Visiting Scholar in European Studies at Columbus State University (USA) in 2008/2009. In 2010, she habilitated in the Philipps-University of Marburg. Maja Soboleva is an author of several books, including: Die Philosophie Michail Bachtins: Von der existenziellen Ontologie zur dialogischen Vernunft (Hildesheim, 2010); Aleksandr Bogdanov und der philosophische Diskurs in Russland zu Beginn des 20. Jahrhunderts. Zur Geschichte des russischen Positivismus (Hildesheim, 2007); Russische Philosophie im Kontext der Interkulturalität (Nordhausen, 2007); Philosophy as a “Critique of Language” in Germany (St. Petersburg, 2005). She has contributed to a numerous peer-reviewed journals and edited volumes, including Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie, Russian Studies in Philosophy, Transcultural Studies: A Series in Interdisciplinary Research, New Contributions to Dilthey’s Philosophy of the Human Sciences. Her arias of specialization are epistemology, philosophy of language, and history of philosophy. Her arias of competence are dialogical philosophy, philosophy of symbolic forms, phenomenology, and theory of meaning, hermeneutics, philosophy of culture, Marxism, and Russian philosophy.

Abstract of current research:
During her visit at the Aleksanteri Institute, Dr. Soboleva will be studying and preparing the paper “Homo Sovieticus”: The Origin of a New Soviet Man for publication. This project focuses on one important aspect of social modernization of Soviet Russia, namely the creation of a new Soviet man. By the interpretation of the concept “Soviet man”, the political concept should be differentiated from the ethical concept. The current project is aimed at the reconstruction of the history of this ethical concept. The hypothesis is that there are three periods in the theoretical reflection on the nature of a new man. The first period, the 1920s, is connected with the theoretical debate between Lenin and Bogdanov concerning the idea of the proletarian culture. The second period, the 1930s and 1950s, can be characterized as a development of the normative morality. This approach tends to a normative ethics which codify the criteria, principles, and norms adapted to a given political system. The third period, the 1960s, is constituted by the transition of ethical thought from moral ideology to moral theory. The Soviet ethics as a theoretical discipline emerged. The thesis that the ethical concept of a Soviet man is a late product of the Soviet thought should be proved in line with the current research. This research project should provide new insights about one specific aspect of the ideological modernization in the Soviet Russia. The result of this project may help to render more precisely the notion “Soviet man”, and to grasp the real praxis of ideological transformations. The category of the “Soviet man” can be integrated into understanding of the Cold War history under the aspect of cultural productions on the ideological front. It reflects also the dynamic in the self-understanding of the soviet society.

Email: soboleva[at]

Academic hosts at the Aleksanteri Institute: Mila Oiva, Sanna Turoma