Russia as Civilization: Ideological Discourses in Politics, Media and Academia, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Russia as Civilization

Ideological Discourses in Politics, Media and Academia, 1st Edition

Edited by Kåre Johan Mjør, Sanna Turoma


256 pages | 12 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9780367493851
pub: 2020-07-08
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Analyzing the use of civilization in Russian-language political and media discourses, intellectual and academic production, and artistic practices, this book discusses the rise of civilizational rhetoric in Russia and global politics.

Why does the concept of civilization play such a prevalent role in current Russian geopolitical and creative imaginations? The contributors answer this question by exploring the extent to which discourse on civilization penetrates Russian identity formations in imperial and national configurations, and at state and civil levels of society. Although the chapters offer different interpretations and approaches, the book shows that Russian civilizationism is a form of ideological production responding to the challenges of globalization. The concept of "civilization," while increasingly popular as a conceptual tool in identity formation, is also widely contested in Russia today.

This examination of contemporary Russian identities and self-understanding will be of particular interest to students and scholars of Russian area studies and Slavic studies, intellectual and cultural history, nationalism and imperial histories, international relations, discourse analysis, cultural studies, media studies, religion studies and gender studies.


"At the end of the Cold War, Samuel Huntington prophesized that national identities would increasingly involve a sense of belonging to larger cultural-historical entities he called civilizations. Russia as Civilization: Ideological Discourses in Politics, Media, and Academia takes Huntington one step further, to explore how the image of a single nation can be constructed and perceived as a civilization unto itself. Through detailed examinations of Russian intellectual and creative practices as well as political discourses, gender debates, media, the fine arts, and the production of academic scholarship, the chapters shed light on the extraordinary potential of the civilization concept as a locus for mobilizing powerful senses of shared national identity. This collection is essential reading for all those interested in the cultural politics of Russian identity, and in contemporary Russian culture and politics more generally." - Mark Bassin, Baltic Sea Professor in the History of Ideas, Center for Baltic and East European Studies, Södertörn University, Stockholm, Sweden.

"Using Russia as a case study, this book sheds new light on how and with what consequences the notion of civilizations has replaced that of nations as a conceptual foundation for constructing group identities worldwide. It makes a compelling case for understanding the proliferation of civilizational narratives in Russia as a transnational phenomenon and as a response to the challenges posed to the country by globalization." - Vera Tolz, Sir William Mather Professor of Russian Studies, The University of Manchester, UK.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Russian Civilizationism in a Global Perspective

Sanna Turoma and Kåre Johan Mjør

  1. "Nation" and "Civilization" as Templates for Russian Identity Construction: A Historical Overview

    Olga Malinova

  2. From Socio-Economic Formations to Civilizations: Seeking a Paradigm Change in Late Soviet Discussions

    Vesa Oittinen

  3. Russia between a Civilization and a Civic Nation: Secular and Religious Uses of Civilizational Discourse during Putin’s Third Term

    Victor Shnirelman

  4. "Civilization" in the Russian Mediatized Public Sphere: Imperial and Regional Discourses

    Galina Zvereva

  5. "Clash of Masculinities"? Gendering Russian–Western Relations in Popular Geopolitics.

    Tatiana Riabova

  6. Re-Imagining Antiquity: The Conservative Discourse of "Russia as the True Europe" and the Kremlin’s New Cultural Policy

    Maria Engström

  7. Civilizational Discourses in Doctoral Dissertations in Post-Soviet Russia

    Mikhail Suslov and Irina Kotkina

  8. An Eternal Russia: Oleg Platonov, the Institute for Russian Civilization and the Nationalization of Russian Thought

    Kåre Johan Mjør

  9. Contemporary Civilizational Analysis and Russian Sociology

    Mikhail Maslovskiy

About the Editors

Kåre Johan Mjør is Associate Professor of Russian at the University of Bergen, Norway, and Senior Research Librarian at the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences.

Sanna Turoma is Professor of Russian Language and Cultural Studies at Tampere University, Finland.

About the Series

Studies in Contemporary Russia

Studies in Contemporary Russia
Studies in Contemporary Russia is a series of cutting-edge, contemporary studies. These monographs, joint publications and edited volumes branch out into various disciplines, innovatively combining research methods and theories to approach the core questions of Russian modernisation; how do the dynamics of resources and rules affect the Russian economy and what are the prospects and needs of diversification? What is the impact of the changing state-society relationship? How does the emerging welfare regime work? What is the role of Russia in contemporary international relations? How should we understand the present Russian political system? What is the philosophical background of modernisation as a whole and its Russian version in particular? The variety of opinions on these issues is vast. Some see increasingly less difference between contemporary Russia and the Soviet Union while, at the other extreme, prominent experts regard Russia as a 'more or less' normal European state. At the same time new variants of modernisation are espoused as a result of Russian membership of the global BRIC powers. Combining aspects of Western and Soviet modernisation with some anti-modern or traditional tendencies the Russian case is ideal for probing deeper into the evolving nature of modernisation. Which of the available courses Russia will follow remains an open question, but these trajectories provide the alternatives available for discussion in this ground-breaking and authoritative series. The editor and the editorial board of the series represent the Finnish Centre of Excellence in Russian Studies: Choices of Russian Modernisation.

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