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Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences
The article presents an attempt to create a theoretical and methodological approach to the study of the Russian and Soviet actor, which would allow to interpret his/her position and role in the society. Statements that an actor was absent in the Soviet Union and is extremely weak in modern Russia are indemonstrable. At the same time, the processes of social self-organization and their actor have been studied by Russian sociologists for more than twenty years and thus confirm his existence. The late 1980’s of the last century saw the emergence of many different civil associations, mass social movements were rapidly forming and institutionalized. Civil activism did not stop in the Russian regions even during the economic stagnation that followed the collapse of the USSR and the crisis of the late 1990s. The phenomenon of theoretical blindness to the Russian actor is caused primarily by the fact that the categorical apparatus of the social sciences was formed on the basis of observations over the development of the Western industrial society from the beginning of the New Time to the Post-Modernism and was intended for its study, this apparatuses was changing following changes in its subject matter. Its research allows us to identify transformation of the actor at various stages of the development of modernism, to compare them with the corresponding processes in Russia. The article presents an analysis of evolution of the interpretations of the system and the actor, on the basis of which it is proposed to correct a number of theoretical instruments necessary to study the Russian actor. The system in this case is interpreted as a whole in which the actions of the subject are specified by its functions and adjusted by norms. A norm means any regulator external to the subject: a rule, an order, a standard, a step-by-step instruction, and the like. Three stages are distinguished in the trajectory of the subject’s development: the subject of the period when classical centralized and hierarchical system dominated in the professional and administrative sphere; the actor of the era of institutional change – an independent, responsible and creating social reality; a subject-agent of Post-Modernism. The contradiction between the actor acting in accordance with own values and the agent serving the system is formulated.
actor, agent, system, technology, labor division, reflection, values, norms, decision making, modernity, postmodernism