By Michael Urban
In Russian politics trustworthy info is scarce, formal kinfolk are of really little value, and issues are seldom what they appear. using an unique idea of political language to narratives taken from interviews with 34 of Russia's best political figures, Michael city explores the ways that political actors build themselves with phrases. by means of tracing person narratives again to the discourses on hand to audio system, he identifies what can and can't be intelligibly acknowledged in the bounds of the country's political tradition, after which records how elites depend upon the non-public parts of political discourse on the price of these addressed to the political neighborhood. city indicates that this discursive orientation is congruent with social family winning in Russia and is helping to account for the truth that, regardless of revolutions proclaiming democracy within the final century, Russia is still an authoritarian nation.
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Additional info for Cultures of Power in Post-Communist Russia: An Analysis of Elite Political Discourse
The results of these efforts have been disappointing. On the one hand, civil society conceived in this fashion can scarcely be said to exist in post-communist countries, which stand out for recording the lowest levels of citizen participation in voluntary associations among all countries on the globe (Howard, 2003; Hann, 2002). Russia fits squarely into this pattern (Henderson, 2003; Sundstrom, 2006), suggesting that the study of civil society in that country has amounted to examining something 1 For a very different interpretation of “civil society,” more plausibly related to postcommunist states, see Ekiert and Kubik (1999) and Kubik (2005).
Here, the discussion turns to respondents’ recollections of Russia’s recent revolution, inquiring whether their memories and assessments of that event would accord with one another sufficiently to sustain a common narrative on the genesis of the Russian nation-state that might symbolically mediate a foundational tale for the larger political community. The interview responses, however, resist that interpretation, displaying dissension rather than consensus on all principal aspects of the revolution: when it began and ended; what is was about; whether it reached its objectives; and what it has meant for the country’s future.
Voluntary cooperation has replaced, in this conception, the problematic of power, its production, deployment and reproduction. Moreover, at the core of “capital” – as Karl Marx observed long ago – is not a thing but a social relation. Accordingly, there seems small purpose in treating “social capital” as a measurable individual characteristic connoting a propensity to trust unfamiliar others. Rather the utility of “capital” issues from social interaction and exchange. That is where “it” is present in a meaningful sense, in its disappearance and conversion into something else, especially into other forms of capital.
Cultures of Power in Post-Communist Russia: An Analysis of Elite Political Discourse by Michael Urban