RUSSIAN ACADEMY OF SCIENCES

INSTITUTE FOR AFRICAN STUDIES

 CENTER OF HISTORY AND CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY

 CENTER FOR CIVILIZATIONAL AND REGIONAL STUDIES

 

30/1 Spiridonovka St., 123001 Moscow, RUSSIA

Tel.: + (7 495) 691 4119; Fax: + (7 495) 697 1954

E-mail: conf2009@conf2009.ru

http://www.conf2009.ru/index-eng.html

 

 

RUSSIAN STATE UNIVERSITY FOR THE HUMANITIES

 

SCHOOL OF HISTORY, POLITICAL SCIENCE AND LAW

6, Miusskaya Ploshad' 125267 Moscow, RUSSIA

Tel.: + (7 495) 298 5886; Fax: + (7 495) 298 0345

 

 

FIFTH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE

"HIERARCHY AND POWER IN THE HISTORY OF CIVILIZATIONS"

June 23-26 2009, Moscow, Russia

 

THIRD ANNOUNCEMENT AND CALL FOR PAPERS

 

Centers of History and Cultural Anthropology and for Civilizational and Regional Studies of the Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, and the School of History, Political Science and Law of the Russian State University for the Humanities are organizing in Moscow on June 23-26, 2009 the Fifth International Conference "HIERARCHY AND POWER IN THE HISTORY OF CIVILIZATIONS".

 

All the Conference events except culture program will take place on the Russian State University for the Humanities main campus.

 

The working languages of the Conference are Russian and English.

 

The Organizing Committee has considered all the panel proposals received by it. The descriptions of the accepted proposals please find below. The deadline for paper proposals (in the form of abstracts within 300 words in English) is November 1, 2008. Paper proposals should be sent not to the Organizing Committee but directly to the respective panel convenor(s) who is (are) to inform the applicant about his (her) application's fortune by December 1, 2008. The information to be submitted alongside with the paper abstract includes full name, title, institutional affiliation, full mail and e-mail addresses, and fax #.

 

However, in the case you feel your paper does not fit any particular panel but corresponds to the Conference general problematics, you may submit your proposal to the Organizing Committee by the same date (November 1, 2008) and it will be considered for scheduling for the Free Communication Panel. Besides, if the Organizing Committee finds it possible to unite an appropriate number of proposals submitted for the Free Communication Panel into a thematic panel, it may establish such a panel and propose one of its prospective participants to become the convenor. None of the proposals may be accepted or rejected on the basis of its submitter’s previous academic credentials, ethnic or national origin, sex, or otherwise, but only on the basis of the proposal’s relevance to and importance for, the Conference’s problematics.

 

All the general inquiries on the academic aspects of the Conference and proposals for the Free Communication Panel should be sent to the Organizing Committee, for the attention of Ms. Anastasia A. Banschikova and Dr. Oleg I. Kavykin, Conference Secretaries preferably by e-mail (conf2009@conf2009.ru), or either by fax (+ 7 495 697 1954), or by ordinary mail (Center of History and Cultural Anthropology, Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, 30/1 Spiridonovka St., 123001 Moscow, Russia). The telephone number is: + 7 495 691 4119.

 

In the case the proposal is accepted, the Organizing Committee will send you the list of documents necessary to support your visa application process at the Russian Consulate or Embassy in the respective country in the beginning of the year 2009. All the inquiries regarding technical matters (visa, accommodation, etc.) should be sent to Dr. Galina M. Sidorova, Chair of the Institute for African Studies’ International and Public Relations Department (inter.inafr@mail.ru).

 

The Conference participant’s registration fee is 150 euros (or the equivalent sum in US dollars or Russian rubles) which includes the visa application support at the Russian Federal Migration Service,[1] culture program, Conference Book of Abstracts, reception, coffee-breaks, is to be paid on the spot upon arrival. The fee for an accompanying person is 70 euros (or the equivalent sum in US dollars or Russian rubles) includes the visa application support at the Russian Federal Migration Service, participation in culture program and reception.

 

The Organizing Committee can assist in accommodation booking at the hotel of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Downtown Moscow. The prices for September 2008 are as follows: about 163 euros per night for a SGL room and 186 euros for a DBL room. Accommodation at the hotel “Uzkoye” of the Russian Academy of Sciences in a Moscow southern neighbourhood of is 115 euros per night (SGL room) and 147 euros (DBL room). Please note that the prices may well be subjected to changes in the direction of growth, being obviously out of the Organizing Committee's control. If such changes happen, the Organizing Committee will try its best to inform the Conference participants as soon as possible. The independent reservation in any other Moscow hotel well in advance is strongly recommended and encouraged; furthermore it can turn out to be more reasonable in terms of prices. For further information you may consult the Internet sites: http://moscow-hotels.net and http://all-hotels.ru/moscow.

 

PANELS ACCEPTED FOR THE CONFERENCE (In the alphabetical order of titles):

 

Aggression and Power Control in Traditional and Industrial Societies

Convenor: Prof. Marina Butovskaya (Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow; E-mail: mbutovskaya@rambler.ru)

 

Aggression in the human society remains one of the most actively disputed social phenomena. Despite thousands of annual publications on aggression, attempts of its analysis from various angles, ranging from molecular to macrosociological, we are still far from being ahead with elaboration of effective methods of aggression control and prevention. A complex approach to estimations of factors provoking aggression and determining particular ways of its expression may provide an additional chance for better understanding of the nature of this phenomenon and reasons for its cross-cultural similarities and differences. In line with this Panel we are planning to discuss a wide range of questions connected to modern theories of interaction between aggression and power control on the within-group and between-group levels. We are expecting to discuss the issues of correlations between various expressions of aggression and mechanisms of power control from very broad positions, including evolutional, ecological, psychological, sociological, and anthropological approaches. We suppose to discuss the family violence, aggression practices in small groups, as well as traditional socialization practices in cultures with clearly expressed gender asymmetry in power control. Theoretical and field studies of personal and group mechanisms of control over aggression are welcomed. Special attention will be given to studies of traditional institutions of power control connected to conflict resolution, as well as to investigations of transformations of traditional representations of power control within the family and on the level of small social groups in connection with rapid economic changes and transitions from one economic structure to another. We would highly welcome the presentations based to cross-cultural data, as well as mathematic models of interactions between aggression and power control on the in-group and between-group levels.

 

 

Analyses of Cultural Evolution

Convenors: Prof. Herbert Barry III (University of Pittsburgh, USA; E-mail: barryh@pitt.edu); Prof. Douglas R. White (University of California-Irvine, USA; E-mail: drwhite@uci.edu); Prof. Andrey Korotayev (Russian State University for the Humanities & Institute for African Studies, Moscow, Russia; E-mail: akorotayev@mail.ru)

 

Prior verbal theories of cultural evolution have led to empirically testable mathematical models of this process. The panel is aimed at discussion of further scientific methods for studying adaptive evolution of governmental extension and selection. During the past several thousand years, many independent communities have aggregated or been conquered to form portions of a chiefdom, nation, or empire. Other communities have remained independent. Some empires and nations have split into smaller aggregations. Methods of choosing a new leader of a community or nation include hereditary succession, conquest, selection by elite members, and a formal election by some or all adults. Adaptive evolution can be inferred when changes in cultural customs and in environmental conditions cause changes in governance methods. New governance methods cause adaptive changes in other cultural customs. Different governance methods are associated with differences in education of children and adolescents. Various techniques are available for analyzing adaptive evolution. The same communities or nations can be compared at different times. Similarities or differences after separation from the same antecedent society can be identified in communities or nations. Measures of governance methods, education, and other customs are available on a world sample of 186 societies. Mathematical models of cultural evolution are especially desirable but contributions without such models are also welcome

 

 

Cases of Records: The Concept of Written Evidence within the Context of a Socio-Cultural Hierarchy (Source Studies, Historical Anthropology, and Interpretation of the History of the Document from Antiquity to Renaissance)

Convenor: Dr. Nadejda A. Selounskaia (Russian State University for the Humanities, Moscow; E-mails: spesbona@mail.ru; ravello@inbox.ru; spes@dr.com)

 

It seems impossible to give a definition for the concept of “written culture” as well as the interpretation of it beyond the hierarchal principle of the society’s organisation. A written culture occupies a particular place within the hierarchy of cultural values . It usually relates to a so called “culture of elites” (contrary to “oral tradition”, associated with low classes of the society). However, such a primitive opposition includes a risk not to notice the nuances of the correlation between social and cultural processes. The research of the cases of composition of the records provides several advantages. Firstly, we have the chance to identify multiple influence, initiated by the representatives of different social strata on the composition of the document( for example, it could be the discourse of the witnesses and the judges, or persons who ordered the documents and its composers. Secondly, it becomes clear, that the culture of the written, recorded evidence (including the aspects of law and the juridical culture) was wide spread among common people in the particular historical periods in the different regions of Ancient, Medieval, and Renaissance Europe.

The main goal of the project is taking down the tradition of the primitive bipolar opposition written culture of the elite to the popular “law” oral tradition without the rejecting of the attempts to trace the correlation between the specific cases of the written evidence and  the aspects, related to the complicated structure of society.

Within the framework of the section we are planning to discuss the following topics:

1). The reasons and the cases of the initial records of the law custom, oral and historical tradition, myth, rituals.

2). The distribution of the roles and of the functions in the process of the registrations of the cases. Initiators and translators of the records, the addressees: the translators sensu stricto (in the stricter sense) of the word, the interpreters and the mediators, the audience and eyewitnesses. The analysis of the needs, the strategies, the goals of the initiators, translators and the addressees of the records.

3) The influence of the oral culture, tradition, customs, customary law and the performance of the rituals in the process of the creating of the record. The mutual influences. The record reproduces the voices and sounds, the atmosphere in which the written evidence was created.

4) The art of scriba/notaria from Antiquity to Renaissance йpoque. Medieval Notarius, the culture of the document through the centuries in the Latin West.

5) The principles, the aims and the goals of the recording and of the creating of the written evidence; the methods of the historical reconstructions. The technical details and formulae of the record; the case studies: the situations and peculiarities of the recording.

 

 

Challenging Hierarchy and Power: Communities, Resistance and Repression

Convenors: Dr. Olga Aksyutina (Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow; E-mail: olga.aksyutina@gmail.com) and Dr. Marianne Maeckelbergh (University of Leiden, Netherlands; E-mail: mmaeckelbergh@fsw.leidenuniv.nl).

 

The key idea of this panel is to discuss how people can be self-organised without power from above and how to create such a condition. The panel covers a number of issues such as self-organisation in (protest) communities and movements, challenging power on micro (structures of power in everyday life, for instance, racism, sexism) and macro levels (state power and its institutions, capitalist system).

We would like to suggest the following subjects as the base for discussion:

1. Challenging foundations of dominance in everyday life. Self-organization without power ‘here and now’ (autonomous spaces, communities, etc.)

Non-hierarchical communities in history. Conceptions and practices of direct democracy. Self-organisation in communities and grassroots movements. Network organization. Countercultures.

Subversion or inversion? Challenges to power and hierarchy sometimes turns into just an inversion of that, when ‘mirror change of statuses and roles’ happens but hierarchy still remains (e.g. king and fool of ancient Roma saturnalias and Middle Ages carnival, concepts like ‘ethical slut’). Why do revolutions fail and end up reproducing the same power structures they set out to dismantle?

2. Fighting to change the world around you and further. Challenging / attacking the state and capitalism

The second main focus of the panel will be on the ways of achieving a society where everyone is equal by creating a change that dissolves, not rearranges or reproduces, hierarchy. How can state authority, education systems, corporations, the military and so on be abolished/changed? How can the transformation occur on a town-by-town, neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis? Abolitionism vs. reformism. Dangers of a dialogue? Understandings of violence and non-violence within social movements and definitions of these by the power that be. ‘One person’s freedom fighter is another’s terrorist’.

3. State response to protest: Repression, totalitarianism and legitimization

The third focal point of the panel will concentrate on the functional necessity of repression, the need of any state to preserve the status quo and prevent dissident groups from changing society. In the ‘era of globalization’, one can watch the strengthening punitive role of the state, the increasing control and surveillance of society, and the mounting of repression and state terror. Here we suggest discussing how the legitimation of such measures happens, cultural models of the perception of power in the public mind, and political manipulation. As well as the role the ‘war on terrorism’ plays in this process, since terms like ‘terrorists’ and ‘extremists’ are often used as labels for criminalization of the economically and politically unwanted.

The panel will be concluded with a round table on the repression of protest. Here we would like to propose also a discussion on the role of social and political sciences in supporting or counteracting repression.

 

Civilization and State in Africa in History and at Present: Becoming and Disintegration Factors (Values and Law, Economy and Politics)

Convenor: Prof. Anatoliy D. Savateev (Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow; E-mail: asavat@mail.ru)

 

In the 1990s two inconsistent directions have arisen in an estimation of mutual relations of a civilization and State in the western scientific idea. The first, which ancestor was Francis Fukuyama, in essence abolishes a role of civilizational systems in world politics, approving a victory of western (American) political, cultural, economical institutes and values in planetary scale. The second approach, on the contrary, brings to the forefront relations between civilizations, which, as the founder of this thought Samuel Huntington considers, becomes the basic content of contradictions of the present. Opposition of the States, on its idea, is replaced with an antagonism of civilizations. At the same time two approaches to definition of a civilization exist in one civilizational paradigm in the basic: the first one considers civilization as a socio-cultural reality, whereas for partisans of other approach a civilization is first of all a mental concept, a social construct.

Organizers of section suggest to discuss theoretical problems with reference first of all to history and the present of the African continent, and also the global world. They consider, that integrating of the State in Africa was preceded with penetration and strengthening of world civilizations – Islamic and Christian one (separately is Egyptian one).  Simultaneously the development of statehood in its western forms promoted spreading of elements of western civilization (Christian religion, language, writing, the literature of various genres, an appropriate way of a life, a political culture, practical orientation of spiritual culture, a pragmatism in social sphere, evolution of facilities in a direction of raw-material producing type). However the evolution of western type statehood occurs under the strongest influence of African social and cultural systems the result of which becomes occurrence of original, Africanized political institutes and norms, forms, maintenance and organization of economy. Misunderstanding of features of the State in Africa, its (and economic life) intimate connect with traditional, ethnic, confessional, clan structures became the reason of disappointments of a greater part of the western and domestic researchers in results both pro-bourgeois, and pro-socialist transformations on the continent.

Unlike European civilization which as a whole was spread from above, by colonial administration and by European organizations, Islamic civilization in Tropical Africa got from below and it was fixed in society, focusing the person on maintenance of social communications, consolidation of a society and observance of morally-legal harmony. It to a lesser degree developed political institutes though promoted becoming of the large States, however has shown greater tenacity and flexibility in conditions of Africa. Moreover, separate societies, where the synthesis of the African social and cultural systems and structures of Islam happened, showed the world such original Islamic-African institutes which appeared able to adapt oneself to present time, combining in itself economic efficiency and social and cultural consolidation.

In this connection the organizers of the Panel propose to discuss followings issues:

1. Co-operation of civilization and State in African conditions and other regions of the world.

2. The role of large States (empires) in life of people of continent and other parts of planet (positive or negative).

3. What is intercommunication of spiritual and financial components in the development of civilization and State in the history and modern times?

4. Does development of African societies and States conducts to appearance of analogues of western civilization, i.e. to westernization with its democracy and individual human rights or it deals with traditionalization of the modernity?

5. How do traditional moral norms and western type law combine in these terms?  Ordinary law and civil society?

6. Do political institutes, cultures, economy of the African people evolve in what direction?

7. What part did the institutes, cultures, economy act in past and modern life of society and State? How did they influence upon civilizations?

8. Is there in the African social and cultural systems and economies internal potential of development, able to provide arise of societies and economies, like to same in South-East Asia and on the Far East?

 

 

Culture as a Major Factor in Relations between States and People
Convenors: Dr. John A. Taylor (University of Southern Illinois, Chicago, USA; E-mail: john_taylor84@post.harvard.edu); Mr. Ivan Nechepurenko (University of Calgary, Canada; E-mail: inechepo@ucalgary.ca)
 
Our panel will discuss one instance of this, the communication between Russians and English-speaking people, and we will also discuss Japanese and Russian relations briefly. The panel will claim that characteristic and often-recurring difficulties hinder communication between Russians and English-speaking people.
During the time of the Soviet Union, everyone realized that communication between Russians and English-speaking people was difficult. The Soviet Union closed its borders to many travelers, and its official ideology was also closed to outside influences, for instance. These hindrances to communication were visible and objective. They presented great difficulties, deterring many American
and British academics. Kremlinologists as they were sometimes called specialized in Russian language and politics, and they tried to analyze and predict the various turns of Soviet policy, although these scholars often did so wrongly, and few of them predicted the fall of the Soviet system. These scholars studied Russia intently, but they found it hard to obtain visas to visit the country itself, and they were limited and controlled when they did visit Russia. American and British visitors were often followed or otherwise kept under surveillance, for instance. On the other hand, scholars of Soviet nationality had even less access to America and western Europe. Only a small handful of Soviet citizens could obtain, and then with difficulty, the papers and hard currency necessary for travel abroad. In practice, few Soviet professors and even fewer students did travel. Most Soviet academics never met any American or British counterparts.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, these obstacles disappeared; nevertheless, other obstacles, most of them cultural, have since become evident. The emergence of these obstacles was a surprise. People on both sides ended the Cold War period with the assumption that the disappearance of official barriers to communication between Russians and the English-speaking world would mean that there were no longer any barriers at all. Most people hoped that combination would become easy and fully successful. Unfortunately, this goal proved to be too difficult to achieve in practice. In fact, some major cultural differences always existed but were concealed from the mainstream point of view during Soviet times. Since both the conveners of this panel are involved in higher education, the panel emphasizes communication in education. Nevertheless, the authors hope that the panel may be of value to people in other fields as well, and in the conclusion of the panel they will very briefly apply its principles to broader issues.
One of the panel's conveners is an American specialist in British history who periodically teaches in Russia and who has also taught in Japan. Another is a Russian, currently studying at a Canadian University. We are prepared to discuss Russian communications with Japan as well. We are also prepared to invite more participants, Russians as well as foreigners; our  connections in Russia as well as in America will allow us to do so. We think, that the subject of our future panel is especially important now, when relations between Russia and the outside world are being explained mostly in political terms. We argue, that cultural misunderstandings hinder successful cooperation between Russia and the outside World.
 

 

Despotism in the History of Civilizations

Convenor: Prof. Leslie Gunawardana (University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka; E-mail: leslie.gunawardana@gmail.com; leslieg12@hotmail.com)

 

Reflection on hierarchy and power in the history of civilizations would invariably come to focus on despotism as a phenomenon of enormous interest. Despotism assumed varied forms in human history. The specific features of these diverse forms and the common elements that link them across space and time deserve careful study. While historical state systems, especially those in Asia, will attract particular attention, this emphasis will be moderated by the awareness of dangers of excessive limitation of spatial or chronological focus. It is expected that considerable attention will be devoted to economic, social and ideological bases of despotism, the common characteristics of despotism in history and factors conducive to opening paths to emerge from despotism or to avoid the path of despotism.

The term despotism developed in contexts of acute political rivalry, as in the struggles against the Persians by the Greeks or against Sulla by leading Roman patricians. It was revived in French polemics on absolutism during the reign of Louis XIV when views on “despotism of the Orient” hardened into a concept that was carefully distinguished from the “legal” and “enlightened” despotism of European monarchs. During the expansion of colonialism in the “old world” and across the Atlantic, the term gained wide currency, and the despotic image was freely applied to archaic and traditional polities in Asia and elsewhere, thereby providing a popular justification for colonialism.

A major theoretical hypothesis on despotism linked it with needs of agriculture in arid lands on the argument that the crucial value to the community of the despot’s work as “total entrepreneur” providing irrigation facilities was behind the acceptance of despotism in those lands. While the position and functions of the despot were supposedly strengthened by his “bureaucracy,” the absence of economic and social institutions with adequate countervailing power to check his actions has been used among variant explanations for the rise of despotism, and the isolation of rural settlements has been cited as another contributing factor.

Presumptions about despotism are not always supported by available historical data. While large-scale hydraulic enterprise was usually state-sponsored, the daily maintenance and management of such works often passed on to third parties. On the other hand, religious institutions and private families were very often behind irrigation enterprise of medium and small scale. By retaining control of operations at these irrigation works they benefited from incomes derived from irrigation activity. Consequently, present within such types of irrigation society were social groups with economic resources that enabled them to check and balance the growth of royal power.

Even though some scholars have drawn sharp distinctions between “irrigation” and “trading” societies, some irrigation societies in history have also been trading societies with merchant groups controlling considerable economic resources and capable of functioning as countervailing forces unfavourable to the growth of royal power. This meant that even if they came under the shadow of despotism, emergence from that state would not depend entirely on intervention by external imperial powers.

 

 

From Simple Societies to the World-System. Pathways and Forms of Political Integration

Convenors: Prof. Oskar Krejci (University College of International and Public Relations, Prague; Faculty of Political Science and Foreign Affairs of University of Matej Bel, Slovak Republic; Institute of Political Sciences of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava; E-mail: politicus@upcmail.cz: ; politicus@chello.cz); Dr. Svetozar Krno (Katedra politológie a európskych štúdií FF UKF, Nitra; E-mail: Karpaty84@gmail.com)
 

In the framework of this panel several questions should be discussed:

1) A man as a collective creature.

2) Intra-social and inter-social relations.

3) Possible rules applicable in primitive societies.

4) Question of the group sees as the most important for self-identification

5) Differences between internal political system and international political system.

6) Possible form of organization of human beings.

7) Origin of the State.

8) Reasons of dominance of the State over alternative political structures.

9) Situation in collapsed states and in the time of decline of State power (for example in post-socialist countries after 1989) - Return to more primitive organizations? (e.g. organised crime, clans, tribes, mafia).

10) International system and its rules.

11) Special similarity between  primitive social systems and the international system.

12) Regional international system.

13) World international system and its subsystems.

14) Challenges to today world international system.

15) Globalisation and the world government?

16) Unipolarism of the USA and its impact on the world international system and international law.

17) Potential disintegration of our today world international system.

 

 

Globalization: Reshaping the Research Agenda

Convenors: Prof. Fantu Cheru (The Nordic African Institute, Uppsala, Sweden; E-mail: fantu.cheru@nai.uu.se); Prof. Vladimir Shubin (Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow; E-mail: vladimir.shubin@inafr.ru; vlgs@yandex.ru)

 

Writings on globalization are rapidly proliferating. Yet systematic research on globalization is only slightly more than a decade in the making. It is connected to, but differs from, forerunner studies of world history, social theory, and related branches of international relations. Globalization studies has emerged as a means to explain the myriad features of worldwide restructuring in the last 20th and early 21st centuries. Notwithstanding major theoretical innovations, as a field of study, globalization is more of a potential than a refined framework, worldview, kit of tools and methods, and mode of resolving questions. Surely there are grounds for discontent with globalization studies. To some critics, globalization is seen as a promiscuous concept, one that cries out for ore analytical precision and empirical rigor. Moreover, globalization is sometimes deemed over determinedtoo abstract, too structural, and insufficiently attentive to agency. Not only does globalization seem to be too blunt a tool, but what does it leave out? What is not globalization? What is the effect of globalisation in different regions? How do different forces respond to it?

These complaints are formidable challenges to globalization researchers. Of course, these scholars are not univocal. There are different interpretations and considerable contestation. But what are the different responses to the discomfort with this emerging field? Where to go from here, and what are the most promising research strategies?

 

 

"Great Kings" and "Lesser Kings": The Ranking of Political Subjects in Ancient and Early Mediaeval Times

Convenor: Dr. Alexander A. Nemirovskiy (Institute of World History, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow; E-mail: sidelts@inbox.ru)

 

This panel is dedicated to various phenomena of hierarchization and ranking of political subjects and units (communities, groups, functionaries, structural elements) which are of similar nature by themselves but receive different ranks within some system of inequitable mutual relations, so that they appear as elements of "vertical" scale or "horizontal" alignment according to respective highness of their status or power. It deals with ranking of rulers; dignitaries; administrative, territorial and tribal subdivisions; political communities; various groups of population of similar social nature but unequal status and rights, etc.

The most important varieties of these phenomena are as follows:

- distinguishing between "great" and "lesser" rulers and/or powers in international relations (while all of them are recognized as sovereign political units independent from each other);

- hierarchies of supreme and vassal rulers existing within one political entity (while all of them are positioned on different levels of one and the same political class described by a common title of "king" etc., or, vice versa, are regarded as elements of totally different political classes which have no common title and constitute a kind of vertical scale);

- relative ranking of supreme and dependent rulers who are members of different political entities;

- hierarchies of supreme/ predominant and dependent political communities (suzerain and vassal states, hegemonic entities and their minor "allies" etc.);

- ranking of dependent political units (rulers or communities) in respect to each other within the frames of their common subordination to one supreme power (while these dependent units may or may be not co-subordinated to each other in their own turn);

- ranking of administrative, tribal and territorial subdivisions of one political entity (e.g. major and minor appanages in Mediaeval Russia and scales of seniority of "wings" or "juzes" in Turko-Mongolic societies) and various orders of succession of their rulers;

- ranking of dignitaries and other persons of extraordinary high status within one political structure or entity; the corresponding hierarchical scales;

- ranking of professional and social groups of similar or nearly similar economic nature (e.g. some castes in India).

Various phenomena of such rankings can be combined with vertical subordination of subjects of different rank to each other (suzerain – vassal relations) as well as with their nominal and/or real independency from each other (great and minor sovereign states) or co-subordination to the common supreme rule (vassals of different rank). Distinguishing and study of these varieties will be one of the panel's aims.

Some other special aspects of the theme in discussion would be:

- correlation of reality and formalization within phenomena of ranking, i.e. the correlations between real subordination and difference in power on the one hand and formalized rank differences (in titularies, rites, etiquette etc.) and nominal subordination on the other one;

- ideology and conceptualization of ranking and hierarchization;

- legitimate and illegitimate ways of changing a subject's rank within a hierarchy; revisions and redistributions of places occupied by various political units within a hierarchy (e.g. passage of a state into category of "great powers" from minor ones); mechanics of transition of a predominant position within a hierarchy from one political subject to another one.

- means used to maintain the ranking system (and the resulting hierarchy) stable and means used to reform them; attempts to struggle for full or partial abolition of some ranking system and hierarchy itself.

We are glad to invite to our panel everyone who would like to present a paper somehow related in subject to the themes enlisted above.

 

Hierarchies, Networks and Flows in the Sociopolitical Development of Southern Africa

Convenor: Dr. Franco Barchiesi (Ohio State University, Columbus, USA; E-mail: barchiesi.1@osu.edu)

 

The contributions presented in this panel discuss the conceptual relevance and intersections of hierarchies, networks and flows in shaping the contemporary definition of Southern Africa as a regional space. The panel combines different social science perspectives to specifically focus on Southern Africa’s social and political development subsequent to the collapse of the South African Apartheid regime and the post-Cold War scenario of globalization.

Hierarchical views of the Southern African region have greatly shaped past scholarly debates and contrasting theoretical perspectives. This is the case both for views praising the allegedly modernizing role of foreign direct investment, transnational corporations, and international financial institutions, and for critical perspectives looking at the role of South Africa as a regional hegemon, with the attendant regional socioeconomic inequalities and uneven development that followed the South African post-Apartheid transition.

At the core of such debates has often been the need to conceptualize regionalism in this specific case: Is the notion of a Southern African regionalism just a tool to enhance the area’s competitiveness in global markets, which are on the other hand also characterized by hierarchical inequalities? Does it merely disguise South Africa’s continuous economic and political dominance? Is it a metaphor for international economic and political cooperation within the evolving contexts of democratization and the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD), where Africa’s role in relation to global powers and institutions remains fraught with ambiguities? Or can “the region” be thought of as a counter-hegemonic space, where alternatives to global free market capitalism are elaborated through networks and flows of ideas and practices connecting civil societies and social movements?

Paradigms focusing on the role of hierarchies in shaping the region are, in fact, often in need of insights into dimensions of grassroots agency and subjectivity that are relatively opaque from the standpoint of formal organizational and institutional analysis. Concepts of networks and flows can therefore be used to account for such neglected aspects that contribute to the continuous production and reproduction of a regional Southern African space.

The purpose of this panel is, therefore, to explore interactions between hierarchical processes (like top-down development discourses, structures of production and work, cross-border corporate investment, transnational commodity chains, social stratifications underpinning national social policies, and the position of the region in global divisions of labor), dynamics of flows (of migrations, cross-border identities, ideas of citizenship and democracy, emancipatory discourses), and networks (of trade, informal economic activities, transnational entrepreneurship, social movements and collective identities). These are the main factors discussed in this panel, which interrogates the multiple meanings of Southern Africa as a regional space, and how they overlap and relate to local specificities.

 

 

Hierarchy and Power in the Sphere of Anthropology of Cyberspace

Convenors: Dr. Alexei G. Loutskiy (Moscow Government; E-mail: shaanxi@mail.ru); Dr. Oleg I. Kavykin (Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow; E-mail: atrociter@mail.ru)

 

The panel’s aim is a discussion on the following questions:

Cyber Anthropology in the context of contemporary Cultural Anthropology, i.e. specifics of the subject, object and researcher of the sub-discipline;

Power in Cyberspace / Power of Cyberspace (i.e. interactions between formal and informal relations in World village);

Net and hierarchy as the principles of organization of users in information networks;

Cyberspace as supporting system;

Projective systems and Cyberspace (i.e. ideologies of the Net \ ideologies in the Net);

Cyberspace and the processes of enculturation and socialization.

 

 

Leadership in Hunter-Gatherer Societies

Convenors: Dr. James Woodburn (London School of Politics and Economics, UK; E-mail: james@woodburn.org.uk); Prof. Olga Artemova (Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow; E-mails: artemova.olga@list.ru; olga.artemova@jcu.edu.au)

 

The focus of this panel will be on leadership in hunter-gatherer societies both in the past and at present. We will be concerned with societies with a known and locally acknowledged recent history of living largely by hunting and gathering including those societies whose present-day way of life may involve little or no hunting and gathering. Did such hunter-gatherers, and do they now, have distinctive forms of leadership? We seek discussion of the whole range of forms of leadership, both formal and informal, in both society-wide contexts and in smaller units including domestic units. We seek to consider both leadership roles which are exercised in a range of situations and those which are restricted to specific situations.

Many, though certainly not all, hunter-gatherer societies have been characterized in the hunter-gatherer literature as lacking formal positions of authority, as lacking institutionalized and recognized leaders. How do or did such societies operate? How, in particular, are or were decisions reached?

If many of these societies had no formal leaders, has this influenced the contemporary situation? Do formal relations of authority exist today and can those who today may occupy positions of authority persuade or compel other members of their societies to recognize and accept their authority? In what sense, if any, do those claiming leadership roles today (in political situations where leadership may well be crucial in the contemporary struggle with outsiders for land and other resources) gain the active acknowledgement, recognition and support of other members of their societies? Many of us in our research encounter individuals who claim to lead and represent their communities. Do other members of their societies accept their credentials and vest them with the authority to act on behalf of the community? How do such leaders come to power and how do they maintain their power? What continuities and discontinuities are there between leadership in the hunter-gatherer past and leadership in the contemporary world?

The aim of this panel is to achieve a better understanding of the nature of leadership in hunter-gatherer societies and to make this understanding available to all those hunter-gatherer leaders and followers who are today working productively to enable their people to retain and develop their rights to land and resources and to maintain and enhance valued characteristics of their culture and society.

 

 

Lineage as Legitimacy in Asian Religious Communities

Convenor: Ms. Amy Holmes (Australian National University, Canberra; E-mail: amy.holmes@anu.edu.au)

 

This panel will explore various facets of how hierarchy is developed and legitimised in Asian religions through focusing on lineage discourses in several religious traditions in Asia. Lineage serves to link together religious believers and practitioners into an imagined collective through commonly acknowledged ties with previous masters. Lineage ties together groups that are otherwise socially and sometimes culturally unrelated, thereby creating cultural models that are open for emulation and that are legitimated by association with the power of previously renowned practitioners. However, as well as their religious significance, lineages can also have profound social, economic and political implications.

The members of this panel all focus on different forms of lineage across different Asian civilizations in an attempt to portray the pervasiveness and potency of lineage in its various manifestations. Through looking at different cultures comparatively, several commonalities emerge that highlight the importance of lineage to the authority of religious communities. There are also important differences in the manifestations and depth of involvement of lineage for these collectives in their different cultural environments. Some religious groups remain spiritual in focus, while others become important political forces, or become linked to ethnic identity.

This panel will also explore the different ways in which lineage is constructed, and the methods by which particular lineages are propagated. Rather than seeing lineage as an imposing monolithic force, here we define it as negotiable and fluid, the manifestation of the sum of the individuals who are affiliated to it. This perspective allows for a freer understanding of how lineage affects the societies within which it is formed, and its contestability also remains crucial to perceiving its pervasiveness in the imaginations of individuals across such varying civilizations.

 

 

Macroevolution: Hierarchy, Structure, Laws, and Self-Organization

Convenors: Prof. Leonid E. Grinin (Volgograd Center for Social Studies, Russia; E-mail: lgrinin@mail.ru); Prof. Alexander V. Markov (Paleontological Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow; E-mail: markov_a@inbox.ru); Prof. Akop P. Nazaretyan (Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow; E-mail: anazaret@yandex.ru); Dr. Fred Spier (University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands; E-mail: f.spier@uva.nl)

 

It is increasingly realized today that interdisciplinary research has a great potential. The study of evolution very much belongs to this type of research. The proposed panel is aimed at bringing together major scholars investigating different type of evolution in order to exchange the results and unify the efforts. The panel is supposed to consider cosmological, chemical, biological and socio-cultural macroevolution as both consecutive and co-existing types of macroevolution. We believe that this is a very important form of interdisciplinary cooperation, which may well help to achieve a better understanding of the trends, patterns, mechanisms, and peculiarities exhibited by all these different types of evolution. The experience gained with using ideas originating within one particular type of macroevolution (e.g., biological evolution) for the study of another type of macroevolution (e.g. social macroevolution) indicates that such an approach can be very fruitful. In fact, in certain respects it appears possible to consider macroevolution as one single process. In this case it is especially important to understand the underlying regularities and laws, although some of these regularities and laws can be rather different, depending on the concrete entity evolving (cosmic, biological, or social).

We suggest the following range of topics for discussion:

1) comparisons between cosmic, chemical, biological, and social evolution;

2) General issues within Big History / Universal History;

3) The “evolution of evolution” (the evolution of evolutionary theories);

4) Particular types of macroevolution, or macroevolution “at the border between two domains” (e.g. with respect to ethology or biochemistry);

5) Other topics, such as linguistic, cultural, epistemological, or psychological macroevolution.

A main focus for the panel will be to look for those regularities and rules that are common for different types of macroevolution, as well as the analysis of the applicability of concrete rules to particular types of macroevolution.

Our main starting points are the following. Firstly, evolutionary rules should not be regarded as rigid functional relationships that are necessarily found in all evolutionary phenomena of a particular class, but rather as certain principles that tend to be supported by empirical data and that can therefore help us to provide a more adequate explanation of the studied complex processes.

Secondly, there are important grounds for seeking to determine similarities between different types of macroevolution:

а) In most cases we are dealing with very complex non-equilibrium yet relatively stable systems. The general principles of the functioning and evolution of such systems are described by general systems and complexity (non-linear dynamics) theories;

b) We observe a complex interaction between systems and their environments that can be described by a few general principles (although they emerge in somewhat different ways in different types of evolution);

c) It is important to become aware of certain “genetic” links between different types of evolution.

One further important task of the panel will consist of the analysis of evolution of various types of hierarchically and heterarchically ordered structures within different types of macroevolution.

 

 

Material Landscape of Power: Gender, Political Identity, and Complexity in Archaeological Context

Convenor: Prof. Nikolay N. Kradin (Institute of History, Archaeology, and Ethnology, Far-Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Vladivostok; E-mail: kradin@mail.ru)

 

As a discipline distinct from anthropology and history, archaeology studies the longue duree of human life. From the traditional perspective history as a narrowly defined discipline begins with the invention of writing. Ethnologists investigate recent non-state societies, groups already influenced by modernization. Historical and ethnological studies are useful for archaeologists. Archaeological sources are more fragmentary than written sources and the observations of ethnographers. Ceramics, fragments of artifacts, and stratigraphic levels are all that the archeologist has. How is it possible to study authority with these poor data? What does a rich burial signify for status position or property? Is there a correlation between social inequality, power, and domination in prehistoric and traditional societies? How may we distinguish, for example, chiefdoms from other complex non-state societies and the states and civilizations using archeological sources?

We suggest to discuss the following problems:

1). Archeological criteria of rank and power.

2). Age, gender, and status in archaeological sources.

3). Elites, material symbols, and identity of cultural groups.

4). Landscape of power: architecture of habitation before and after death.

5). Archaeology of political spaces: peer polity, chiefdom, early state in material culture.

 

 

Movements and Revolutions from Net to Hierarchical Structures

Convenor: Dr. Bahram Navazeni (Imam Khomeini International University, Qazvin, Iran; E-mails: info@navazeni.ir; navazenib@ikiu.ac.ir)

 

The history of mankind has witnessed various types of state system in which the main subject had always been the distribution of power towards maintaining the true values of own. In each type, the old or modern, theocratic or democratic, despotic or pluralistic, different classes and groups have played different roles either in supporting or opposing the ruling power which may have some relation to a particular context of cultural, religious, social and economic power. Classes such as nobles, clergies, bourgeoisie, proletariats, and peasants and groups such as patriots, zealots, and nationalists may insist on their will and not ease until the victory of the revolution and the collapse of the whole system. But even when the revolutionaries came to power, they would find the distribution of power as the their first task. This game continues with the opposition groups as the counter revolutionaries.

Covering a large area of the political science field, this panel encourages all academics and scholars of politics, sociology, history and all those interested in the nature of the old or modern state, and the power it wields to use historical and contemporary materials to illustrate the theoretical analysis and the different and changing will and need of the ruling and revolutionary groups and classes. The Russian, Persian, British, American, Turk, Arab, Indian, Chinese, and African revolutions, old or new, will surely be interesting and appreciated in this panel. I invite the interested participants to discuss the cause and process of movements and revolutions and to find a way to ease tensions among the civilization as a whole.

 

 

Political Dynamics of the Muslim World and Evolution of Islamic Political Thought from a Comparative Perspective

Convenors: Dr. Igor Alexeev (Russian State University for the Humanities, Moscow; E-mail: ialxyv@gmail.com); Dr. Pavel Basharin (Russian State University for the Humanities, Moscow; E-mail: pbasharin@yandex.ru)

 

The panel aims to discuss various problems of political history of Muslim societies and evolution of Islamic political thought from a wide interdisciplinary perspective.

The panel’s concern revolves around understanding of both traditional forms of Islamic political culture and the recent developments. In particular, the panel seeks to evaluate the dynamycs of traditional socio-political structures and ideologycal complexes as well as their transformation under the influence and impacts of modernization processes. Our theoretical premise is that the interaction between the tradition and modernization is by no means unidirectional, as well as the very meaning of these conceptions can hardly be unified. The panel participants are invited to theorize processes of crisis and transformation as permanent factors of political dynamics of various societies of the Muslim World. On the other hand, methaphysical and theological presumptions and constructs reflecting the dynamics of religion as politics and politics as religion can be also helpful to understand processes of intellectual reflection of the political as a general category of thought. That is why we are welcoming political historians and historians of thought as well as political scientists, anthropologists and other specialists interested in this problematique.

 

 

Power and Legitimation: Political Strategies in Early States

Convenor: Prof. Peter N. Peregrine (Lawrence University, Appleton, USA; E-mail: peter.n.peregrine@lawrence.edu)

 

I propose a three-dimensional model for describing and analyzing political strategies in early states. The dimensions are: (1) source of power; (2) implementation of power; and (3) means of legitimation. I suggest that there are less "costly" and more "costly" strategies along these of these dimensions, as well as less "stable" and more "stable" strategies, all dependent on the historical and social context and the physical environment. I suggest emergent leaders employ the least "costly" strategies available to them, but shift to more "stable" ones as they are able (and sometimes they are not, and the state collapses). This model is unapologetically "top-down" and formalist in its approach, but I believe this is a defensible position given both the limitations of comparative archaeology and, more importantly, the reality of political process in early states.

 

 

“Republic of Letters” as a Net Structure in the Cultural Space in the 16th – 18th Centuries

Convenor: Dr. Violetta Trofimova (Institute of Foreign Languages & St. Petersburg State University, Russia; E-mail: violet_trofimova@mail.ru)

 

This panel seeks to analyze various aspects of the birth and development of the “net” of the Renaissance and Early Modern European intellectuals called “Respublica Litteraria” or “Republic of Letters.” The term itself was made popular by Erasmus in the early 16th century, and later was to describe the community of European scholars of the Western world in the Early Modern period.

From the very beginning “The Republic of Letters” was an elite community, and at some stages and in some countries it did not eliminate the idea of hierarchy – see, for example, T. Boccalini’s “Ragguagli del Parnaso” (1614), where the head of the “Republic” is Prince Apollo. Nevertheless, by the end of the 17th century the authors who discussed the phenomenon of the “Republic of Letters” underlined its non-hierarchal nature.

As for the Enlightenment period, which is considered the separate stage in the existence of the “Republic of Letters,” it saw the wide spread of the ideas of universalism and cosmopolitanism, which had been promoted by the citizens of the “Republic.” The end of the 18th century marked the eclipse of the very idea of the “Republic of Letters.”

This panel focuses on the image of the “Republic of Letters” as a net-like, hierarchal/non-hierarchal structure in the minds of Early Modern people. It strives to represent “Republic of Letters” as a cultural phenomenon. It invites papers which discuss this phenomenon in the whole, as well as various subcultures in the “Republic of Letters,” for example, separate intellectual networks, figures of intellectuals belonging to this community, literary works which were the result of the existence and activity of the “Republic of Letters” etc. It invites scholars to analyze the phenomenon of the “Republic of Letters” from historical, philosophical, sociological and other points of view.

“Republic of Letters” was an early predecessor of the Internet, and the ideas of the “citizens” of the “Republic” became the ground for such political structures, as UN and EU, as well as for the very concept of the global world.

 

 

Socio-Cultural Perceptions of Globalization: A Global Resemblance or a Local Recognition?

Convenor: Dr. Irina Vasilenko (Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia; E-mail: irina.vasilenko@research.vu.edu.au; bridgingrussia@hotmail.com)

 

In today’s world, Globalization is more than the capstone of economic transition that drives local economies; more than the production of the higher-order capacity necessary for effective communication tools; it is a critical pillar of human development worldwide that, indeed, has remarkably intensified a socio-cultural transformation. A multifaceted nature of this influence creates an immense complexity in transformation registered in all spheres of social and cultural life affecting each nation or individual. The socio-cultural transformation manifests a complicated character of changes, conflicting tendencies, and a contradicted pattern of simultaneously occurring processes, endorsing assimilation, adaptation, and adjustment along with a reinstatement. 

Globalization motivates changes occurring in traditions, culture, and mentality, collective as well as individual, and indeed, in education, arts, communication, and other social institutions. These changes are central to the transformation of not only a national intellectual capacity of local knowledge of being sufficient in a global environment, but also to a promotion of worldwide practices necessary to update individual knowledge and skills. A widespread discourse of these changes demonstrates that Globalization is more influential than ever in respect to the social and cultural transformation.

At that same time, to challenge the global influence is appeared to be the most critical dimension in the process of socio-cultural transformation. The increasing importance of local knowledge, tradition and culture is significant for surfacing the inverse changes answerable for a reoccurrence of traditionalism, conservatism, and nationalism in the post-industrial, industrial and transitional societies. It is also responsible for maintaining the various forms of social and cultural estrangement and for developing an intricacy of socio-cultural perceptions in different societies.

The complexity of socio-cultural transformations in a rapidly changing global environment has made necessary for a further discussion in respect to the theoretical assumptions and policies concerning a global influence on a socio-cultural transformation in general, and a role of socio-cultural perceptions of Globalization for a national development on the core of a country's competitive advantage in the global environment, in particularly.

The Panel invites scholars, social scientists, social anthropologists, humanists, international educators and independent researchers to discuss the complexity of socio-cultural perceptions of Globalization in the environment of traditional, post-industrial, industrial and transitional societies. The Panel calls for a presentation of papers, case studies, research, surveys, or personal observations informing about cultural and social transformations  taking place in human development and revealing currently occurred changes in social life, psychology, arts, education, and culture as well as in the social institutions their represented.

The interdisciplinary theme of the Panel opens a wider opportunity to discuss different paradigms of socio-cultural perceptions of Globalization in various milieus; tendencies that support or restrict a worldwide integration; and forms of socio-cultural estrangement, The participants also encourage in stimulating a dialogue on both advantages and disadvantages of socio-cultural transformation, how different social institutions are responding to the challenges and opportunities of the global environment; and how Globalization affects not only the shape and mode of national operation but also a life of the individuals.

 

 

The Emergence of the State in Europe

Convenor: Prof. Alessandro Guidi (Verona University, Italy; E-mail: alessandro.guidi@univr.it)

 

Normally we consider ancient early states those of Near East, Egypt, Mesoamerica and Peru.

The archaeological researches of the last 25 years demonstrated that in many parts of Europe state systems are present, often before contact with so called “superior civilizations”.

The aim of this panel is to analyze their emergence in early I millennium Italy and Spain, “Dark Age” Greece, late I millennium Central Europe, France and Britain).

Crucial themes will be:

1). Definition of different pathways toward the State;

2). Presence/absence of cities;

3). Endogenous vs. exogenous development;

4). Centre/periphery relationships.

 

 

The End of Socialist States and the Rise of Ethnic Nationalism

Convenor: Dr. Charles Rheaume (National Defense Headquarters, Ottawa, Canada; E-mails: rheaume.cc@forces.gc.ca; crheau@sympatico.ca)

 

Various kinds of ethnic nationalism have developed at the turn of the 21st century. This phenomenon, as manifested in international relations, is to be traced in good part to the disappearance of the Socialist Bloc and its internationalist discourse. Among that paradigm shift's fiercest episodes were Yugoslavia's break-up and the Bosnian war, which had repercussions in contexts as remote as Canadian politics. The rise of ethnic nationalism expresses itself in subtle ways as well. This is the case with Russian-language humor from Russian immigrants against their receiving societies where they voice nostalgia for the superpower status of the Soviet Union.

 

 

The Forms of Social Stratification and Power Institutions in Chiefdoms and State Societies of South America and Mesoamerica

Convenors: Dr. Ernesto Gonzalez Licon (National School of Anthropology and History, Mexico City, Mexico; E-mail: eglicon@yahoo.com.mx); Dr. Carlos Armando Rodriguez (University del Valle, Cali, Colombia; E-mail: carodrig@univalle.edu.co); Dr. Anastasia Kalyuta (Russian Ethnological Museum, St. Petersburg; E-mails: anastasiakalyuta@mail.ru; kalyuta@ethnomuseum.ru)

 

The main objective of this panel is to discuss the civilizational and evolutionary models of socio-political development of two important regions in the pre-Hispanic Period: the northeastern part of South America and Mesoamerica. The panel is integrated by scholars from these regions and is open to other researchers interested in the comparison and analysis of the sociopolitical evolution of Chiefdoms and State societies in these regions as well.

The panel will be dedicated to the examination of general tendencies and particularities of appearance, evolution and functioning of social stratification and power in the South American and Mesoamerican societies in course of more than 3000 years from Formative Period to the first quarter of the 16th century, the time of Spanish Conquest. The Andean region and Mesoamerica are two of the few regions in the world, where complex societies and states emerged independently of contacts with other parts of the earth that gives to researchers the unique “opportunity” for checking the existing theories of complex societies and state formation. This moment is combined with exceptional richness of archaeological materials and written sources, which makes possible to reconstruct at least in general forms the main vector of South American and Mesoamerican civilizations’ development as well as concrete variants of their evolution in various parts of the regions. 

Departing from these general objectives, the panel will deal with three main blocks of questions to be discussed during its sessions:

- Discussion and evaluation of theoretical models, methodological approaches and / or archaeological indicators related directly to the societies in the regions and period mentioned above.

- Discussion of several aspects based on the archaeological record and/or ethnohistoric sources, related to the formation of hierarchical and net structures, social inequality, gender roles, funerary practices, long distance trade, diffusion of knowledge, and the possible relationship between these two regions and/or some of their forms of socio-political organization. 

- Main economic and environmental factors of appearance and evolution of states and complex societies in South American and Mesoamerica;

- Economic, ideological and social bases of power in Formative, Classic and Postclassic societies

 

 

The Images of Power, State and Leaders

Convenor: Dr. Tatiana V. Evgenyeva (Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow; E-mails: etv@rol.ru; etv133@mail.ru)

 

While observing the facts and reasons, because of which the relations between the population and the power is undergoing changes, we’ll pay attention to the context of power perception.

These relations is not be limited to the ratings, proposed by different sociologic agencies. it is necessary to analyse the structure of political perception in general, taking into account more complicated and fine mechanisms, than those fixed by sociological questionnaires.

Images of power have complex structure, in which one should distinguish alongside the rational level, which is being fixed in sociological surveys, also the level of unconsciousness, to find out which we need different, mainly psychological instruments. This level is composed not only under the influence of the current political events, but also under the impact of the traditions of national political culture, those archetypes, which have been rooted in mass consciousness for a long time. Images of power are also based on the images of specific power holders in mass consciousness.

Within the research of the images of power  it is necessary to compare images of power and images of the person of leader in public mentality, to find the basis of these images in national culture, including the image of the state, to explore dynamics of the attitudes of rank-and-file citizens towards real and ideal power.

We invite the participants to discuss the problems of real and ideal power and state, images of “our” and “alien” political leader, “our” and “alien” state, mass ideas of actual and “shade” political power and political system.

 

 

The Newcomers and Old-Timers: Intercultural Communication, Social Transformations and Migration Policy

Convenors: Prof. Dmitri M. Bondarenko (Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow; E-mail: dbondar@hotmail.com); Dr. Veronica V. Usacheva (Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow; E-mail: veronius@rambler.ru)

 

Activation of the migration processes, one of the key characteristic features of our time, is often seen as a source of social tension determined by cultural differences between the newcomers and old-timers in a society. Both cultural and social differences and contradictions between the migrants and initial citizens are to be given consideration in the Panel. One of the Panel’s goals is to study the migrants and autochthonous population interdependent images in the each others’ consciousness, stemming from the premise that the images of other cultures affect crucially the attitude to the respective cultures representatives. Owe to these images the stereotypic visions of other peoples are formed and reproduced, they influence directly the practice of the relations with them. It is important to reveal not only the images as such but also the historical backgrounds for, and dynamics of their formation in different countries of the world, their specificity and directionality that depends on the socio-cultural features of both the “accepting milieu” and various migrant communities. Simultaneously with the formation of the mutual images of different cultures representatives – now dwellers of the same country and members of the same society, one more process is on, too. This process also has two aspects, dealing with which is a part of the Panel’s tasks. On the one hand, the migrant communities are becoming diasporas – net associations that establish informal as well as semiformal and formal, links and hierarchies within themselves, with the recipient society, with the country of origin, and with the analogous compatriot communities in other countries. Although in the diaspora communities the pre-migration cultural traditions and social relations are supported and may remain unchanged for a much longer time than in the country of origin, these communities inevitable have to conform to the principles of the recipient society. On the other hand, the process of the migrant communities’ socio-cultural integration in the latter presupposes securing by them of some social and professional niches what leads to transformation of the whole system of social hierarchies in a given society. The role of the directing force, of mediators and regulators in the relations between a country’s cultural majority and the migrant communities is to be played by the civil society institutions and the state that pursues the migration policy in the legal, economic, social, cultural, educational, information, and other spheres. Hence, an important task of the Panel is to consider the migration policy in different states and the range and variety of the migrant communities and the wider, whole society’s “responses” to the government’s “challenges”.

 

 

The Use of Symbolic Identities as Cultural Models of Power Legitimation: The Case of the Navy and Merchant Fleet

Convenor: Mr. Ioannis Sideris (Merchant Marine Academy of Greece, Thessaloniki; E-mail: siderisy@otenet.gr)

 

This proposal aims at the presentation of a research undergoing within the frameworks of the Maritime Education and concerned with the variety of cultural patterns of power legitimation on board military and merchant ships.

These cultural patterns of legitimacy construction are viewed as being parallel, converging, or conflictuous to the official mechanisms distributing authority and power in the setting of a military or merchant ship manned by a multinational/multicultural crew.

In particular, being the largest in the world by transporting capacity, the Greek-owned merchant shipping industry operates under a variety of flags [registries] and employs crews of many different national and ethnic origins [mainly Asians and Eastern Europeans]. The Greek-owned shipping industry is not only the most globalized and financially successful branch of the Greek economy, but it is so in comparison with the rest of its competitors as well.

As in any globalized economic environment, the imperatives structuring the coexistence of different national, ethnic, and cultural factors in the workplace are interweaved with and affected by a number of well known phenomena, namely inter-ethnic conflict, nationalist and religious presumptions, or, simply, unavoidable ingredients of a still semantically dominant but controversial "Clash of Civilizations".

In the light of the findings of the undergoing research, the above mentioned phenomena are not independent of the cultural models of power and hierarchy legitimation, as these latter often function as inter-cultural translators providing acceptable and workable individual perceptions of hierarchical relations.

Hierarchy as an organizing principle of human groups, and the creation, transformation, or mutation of symbolic identities as a means to overcome the conflictuous character of hierarchy formation, is the object of our study whose most salient aspects would be presented at the panel. More precisely, we shall make use of a research on the maritime microcosm to focus, in a structurally encompassing manner, on the following issues / problematics of the Conference:

1). ideology and legitimation of power in different civilizational contexts, where we shall examine the role of the socially dominant ideologies in the shaping of individual cognitive schemata;

2). cultural models of power's perception in different civilizations, where we shall try to articulate the artifact of symbolic identity with the existence of cultural patterns of legitimacy construction;

3). power, society, and culture in the era of globalization, where we shall propose an alternative reading of the inter-cultural dynamics in regard to what is currently considered as up-to-date theory in "Managerial Anthropology", inter-cultural management, and conflict resolution studies.

 

 

Traditional Identities in Modern Social and Political Processes in the Caucasus

Convenor: Dr. Enver F. Kisriev (Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow; E-mail: kisriev.dagestan@mtu-net.ru); Prof. Robert Bruce Ware (Southern Illinois University Edwardsville; E-mail: rware@siue.edu); Dr. Naima Neflyasheva (Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow; E-mail: innef@mail.ru)

 

The Caucasus is a very specific region of the world where various communities based on deeply rooted traditional modes of social ties (clan-like, Jamaat-like, ethnic, religious and other identities) preserve their stability and actually reveal themselves in social and political life.

When after the collapse of the Soviet Union some radial political transformations occurred in the Caucasus, studies relating to regeneration of the traditional Caucasian identities and their participation in social and political processes developing in the states of the Southern Caucasus as well as in North Caucasian subjects of the Russian Federation acquired a strong scientific and practical interest.

 

 

Transfer of Institutions and Technologies in the Context of Dialogue of Civilizations

Convenor: Prof. Yuri V. Gromyko (Institute of Advanced Studies, Moscow, Russia; E-mail: nmu@dol.ru)

 

Among the most important constituent bases of the contemporary world are communicability and transferability, especially insofar as they concern institutions and technological systems (both industrial and humanitarian) at the level of interstate relations.

The study and explanation of phenomena such as the interaction and transfer of institutions and technologies, particularly from the perspective of power and politics, are thus one of the most challenging tasks pertaining to the goal of establishing regional and global security, as well as of preserving identities. Is Russia prepared today to not only borrow and acquire institutions and technologies - first and foremost "Western" ones - but also translate them? What are the place and role of the state itself as an institution and how can this institutional and technological transfer be accomplished in the context of dialogue of civilizations? What is to happen both to the country identity and to ethnic identities in such a context? What humanitarian technologies should be like? These are questions that actually inquire int o the place, part, and functions of the state as a political institution in the contemporary world.

The present-day world of globalization is the Oikumene that is deteriorating because of the unrestrained expansion of a limited set of technologies over the entire universe - technologies destroying biological and sociocultural diversity in the world - as well as because of the imposing on all residents of the "global village" of a narrow circle of values obliterating their identities. The overcoming of "egoculturalism" and the building of an intercivilization dialogue are the most pressing problems of nowadays. The examination of these issues and possible projects of solving problems of global and regional security are the focus of the section.

Problems for discussion:

1). Principal characteristics of the contemporary world and the role of the state as a political institution

2). The transfer of institutions and technologies: historical, regional, cultural, and political aspects

3). The translation of institutions and technologies in the context of the issue of maintenance and preservation of identities

 

 

War, Economy and Society in Southern Africa, 1867-1902

Convenor: Prof. Ian Phimister (University of Sheffield, UK; E-mail: i.phimister@sheffield.ac.uk)

 

Such a panel, we believe, would engage with several of the wider Conference issues and themes, particularly those of 'from simple societies to the world-system: pathways and forms of political integration'; 'socio-political and cultural-mental factors of social transformation'; and 'violence and non-violence in the history of political institutions'.

Our reasons for thinking this are as follows: the violent integration at the end of the 19th century of the southern African sub-continent into the wider world of European, largely but not entirely British, imperialism, has long attracted the interest of historians and other scholars. Yet both the long-term origins and the short-term causes of the South African ['Anglo-Boer'] War are still hotly debated. Amongst many possible explanations for this continuing historiographical controversy is the fact that the 'Boer' side, or sides, of the question has not been systematically examined. We are convinced that a revision of the Kruger [Transvaal / ZAR] state’s standing in history is long overdue. President Kruger’s own crucial role as an innovator, especially with regard to his insights and policies in connection with the economy of the ZAR, stands in urgent need of thorough-going investigation. Reassessment of the pattern of modernization of the ZAR and the part played by Kruger, is likely wholly to recast interpretations of the coming of the South African War. It will provide an opportunity to scrutinize critically, not least from a wide range of international perspectives, those polarized views that have seen the conflict as essentially one between Boer backwardness and British civilization.


 

[1] Please note that according to the Russian visa regulations, the host organization has to pay fees for the Official Invitation signed and stamped by the Russian Federal Migration Service for every foreign participant and each accompanying person, who wish to apply for Russian visa. All the foreign nationals are required to obtain their visas prior to their arrival to the Russian Federation (except cases when foreign passport holders are visa exempt due to bilateral agreements) and pay for the visas separately at the Russian Consulate on their own.