Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
RN36_05: Modernity and urban context
Thursday, 22/Aug/2019:
11:00am - 12:30pm

Session Chair: Tea Golob, School of Advanced Social Studies
Location: GM.304
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Geoffrey Manton, Third Floor 4 Rosamond Street West Off Oxford Road

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Sociocultural Modernization and a Civilizational Complex of a Local Urban Territory

Vladimir Kozlovskii

Sociological Institute of Russian Academy of Sciences, Russian Federation

In modern sociological explanations of the dynamics of Russian society, there is a widespread desire to combine linearly-modernization and local-civilizational paradigms in the framework of the “sociocultural” modernization model. It was designed to take into account the variability of ways and methods of modernization in different countries. This concept is an attempt to combine the progressive dynamics of the structural and institutional differentiation of the social system with the continuity of the cultural and civilizational identity of society. The concept of sociocultural modernization asserts the multiplicity of modernization' ways. For an alone taken society it, like the classical theories of modernization, sets an invariant trajectory of movement towards modernity. The variability of modernization paths correlates not only with the multiplicity of modernizing countries, each of which draws its own trajectory of movement towards modernity and within modernity, but also is associated with the multiplicity of projects and models of modernity that arise within each particular society. It makes sense to talk about the multiplicity of modernization in relation to different societies, also in relation to the same society, not only in the diachronic, but also in the synchronous dimension. The proposed civilizational complex of a local urban territory or small city makes it possible to explain a complex mechanism that ensures the overcoming of the crisis of the Soviet model of single-industry towns, the diversification of their traditional economic and production structure, the formation and reproduction of multidirectional socio-structural effects of a dynamically changing culture. Thus, a civilizational complex of a local territory is one of the case of a contemporary sociocultural multiple modernization. (Abstracts were prepared with the support of the RFBR, project No.18-011-01254.)

Urban regimes in small Russian towns

Valeri Ledyaev

National Research University Higher School of Economics, Russian Federation

The paper presents the outcomes of a research project conducted in five small Russian towns. The theoretical framework of the research was urban regime analysis. The basic material was obtained in the course of 76 in-depth face to face interviews with local politicians, public officials, businessmen, local and regional experts.

Different coalitions between local actors take place in all communities. However, coalitions that meet the criteria of the urban regime (in classical Stone’s interpretation) have been discovered, with certain reservations, only in two towns. For a number of characteristics these coalitions differed from regimes in American and European towns (often not quite voluntary nature of coalitions, prevalence of egoistic motives in the coalition-building, strong dependence of the regimes on the personal factor, absence of formal organizations able to coordinate the interests of coalition members, etc.). In the three other local communities urban regimes have not been built due to personal factor, frequent changes in the local government leadership, or the role of external factor. In the public agenda of the regimes (quasi-regimes) the elements of the status quo and, to a lesser extent, growth, prevail. The outcomes of study allow us to conclude that despite the authoritarian nature of the Russian politics and the differences between Russian and American contexts, urban regimes analysis is quite applicable for the study of power in the Russian local communities.

Modernity, First or Second? Individualisation and Youth culture among Gurjar’s (Caste) in an Urban Village of Delhi

Vishesh Pratap Gurjar

IIT Delhi, India

Contributions of Ulrich beck about the changes in the understanding of modernity provided important reflections about the change that the European society has undergone in the wake of Second Modernity. As much as these changes are relevant about the European society, the reflections on rising individualisation have also proved useful in understanding the changes in other societies. However, as much as the world is unified by globalisation, multitude of heirachies within societies diversify its experiences. Further, the global power structure and historical advantages have also placed the Euro American societies in a position to diffuse a modular modernity to other societies. Even though the post-colonial scholars have raised serious doubts against the possibility of a universal modernity and have explored the possibilities of alternative modernity in the non-western societies. The present paper seeks to intervene in this debate by arguing that universalisation of modernity remains a possibility, however it’s experiences remain varied due to internal hierarchies within societies.

The paper based on fieldwork in an urban village of Delhi seeks to explore the youth culture within a caste group. It takes individualisation as a framework to capture the presence of youth culture as a response to modernity and urbanisation. It lay down the experiences of individuals to argue that the First and Second division of modernity remains unimportant when it comes to formation of youth culture in an Urban Village, as they respond to modernity and urbanisation. It also argues that even among a homogeneous caste group differences of Class, Social Capital and Gender matters when it comes to their associations with the culture of individualisation diffused through modernity.

Man In The New Reality: Does Informatization Lead To The Transformation Of The Individual And Society?

Dariya Kushnir

Financial University uder the Government of the Russian Federation, Russian Federation

The main tendency in the 21st century is the process of informatization, which has a key impact on all spheres of life in modern society, in which information is the main resource. In Russia, according to the Pew Research Center, the total number of Internet users is steadily growing: in 2013 66% of the respondents used the Internet, in 2015 - 72%, and in 2017 - 78%.

The rapid expansion of Internet communications over the past decades have had a significant impact on the emergence of a new environment, the “infosphere”, in which a person ceases to be an isolated entity and becomes informational, which interacts as with biological objects, and with virtual objects. Man becomes freer from the limitations of his physical location and biological body. In this sense, if earlier our perspective was fundamentally materialistic, now it becomes just informational: it means to interact, to communicate.

Hyper-reality is rapidly developing, in which the real and the imaginary transform into each other, into a world in which daily life moves from the daily routine to the network. A person ceases to understand: when he is online, and when - no. Modern human is constantly surrounded by all kinds of gadgets, balancing between reality and the virtual world. The difference between being online or offline is erased. A thorny question is raised, whether a person will be able to cope with the growing influence of the Internet, the impact of information technologies and preserve himself as an individual, or will technological changes lead to its complete transformation and, as a result, the transformation of society as a whole?

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