Cultural Factors of Modernization Politics and Particular Russian Culture: Pros and Cons of Modernization (Debate Club Materials)

Topics: Sociology, Economic development, Russians Pages: 1 (631 words) Published: October 28, 2014

Cultural Factors of Modernization Politics and Particular Russian Culture: Pros and Cons of Modernization (Debate Club Materials) There is continuous debate in Russia, as well as in many other parts of the world, on whether cultural factors affect modernization and determine the prospects of social and economic development. In this issue of the “Universe of Russia”, we publish the materials from one such debate which took place at Moscow State University on November 17th, 2011 at the instigation of the Association of Independent Centres for Economic Analysis. The two leading specialists in the field of Russian sociology (B. Dubin, Levada-Centre) and institutional economics (A. Auzan, Moscow State University) discuss the role of culture in social, political and economic modernization of non-Western countries. They speculate on Russia’s modernization prospects in this particular context. Dubin openly claims that he is skeptical about the cultural argument. His arguments are based on vast amounts of sociological data collected by the Levada-Centre over the past 20 years. These data paradoxically show that there is little demand for modernization among Russians, although the latter is generally regarded (also in the elites) as a certain ‘good’. What this means is that people actually want the change to happen, but preferably not now and not from their own effort. Secondly, Dubin has certain objections against modernization as some ‘written project’. He rather defines it as slow and simultaneous progress in all aspects of society’s being, which is, in fact, a by-product of the struggle for political and economic power between various elite and proto-elite groups. On the other hand, modernization is not about a change in economic or political regime, but rather a cardinal change in behavior models — individual as well as collective — and their regulation via certain norms and institutions. According to Dubin’s claims, a modernized society is based on autonomy,...
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