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The soviet version of modernity and its historical legacy: New theoretical approaches

Journal: RUDN Journal of Sociology (Vol.20, No. 1)

Publication Date:

Authors : ; ;

Page : 7-17

Keywords : sociological theory; historical sociology; soviet society; modernity; post-communism; social transformations; historical legacy;

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The article considers some approaches to the analysis of post-communist transformations in Russia and Central and Eastern Europe. In the studies of social-political changes in post-communist societies, there is a new turn towards the analysis of long-term historical processes and the cultural context of contemporary social transformations. The authors emphasize that the ‘new historicism’ in the studies of post-communist transformations follows the sociological theory of multiple modernities, although its importance is not always recognized by researchers. Its original version developed by Shmuel Eisenstadt in the 1990s was not free from certain limitations due to the concept of ‘cultural program’ that presupposes a high degree of path dependence; however, these limitations were overcome in the works of Johann Arnason and Peter Wagner. The studies of post-communist transformations are often based on the early versions of modernization theory which presupposed a smooth transition to the market economy and liberal democracy. However, this approach encountered difficulties under the reversal of economic and political liberalization. The multiple modernities theory overcomes the limitations of this approach, it is relevant for the analysis of transformation processes in contemporary Russia and other post-communist states. In the recent studies of the historical legacies of communism, they are not considered as a ‘cultural program’ determining the trajectory of social development. The article describes some contemporary conservative ideologies in Russia as an example of the Soviet historical legacy’s influence, and argues that various ‘ideological ecosystems’ present their own interpretations of modernity.

Last modified: 2020-08-02 07:35:50